THE FALKLAND Islands priest who narrowly escaped death during the Falklands war when an Argentinian bullet passed through a theology book he had again just escaped death when he was caught in a serious fire which left nine people dead. Mgr Daniel Spraggon OBE, the Prefect Apostolic on the Islands, was in Port Stanley hospital undergoing medical tests when fire broke out on the night of Monday, April 9.
Speaking from his hospital bed in Princess Alexandra RAF hospital near Swindon this week he said: "When the fire broke out I was sedated, so it took me some time to come to. The noise of shouting eventually woke me up, but by that time the lights had gone. "I put on my slippers and dressing gown and rushed out into the corridor, but the smoke was too much for any human being. I retreated into my room and put a wet flannel over my nose and mouth and ventured into the corridor again, but the smoke was so acrid that 1-was driven back.
"At that point I thought my end had come and I said to the good Lord: 'Its up to you now. I've done all 1 can.'
"1 stumbled back into my room in the pitch black and fell over an armchair or something, and felt a great pain in my ribs. I later found out that they were cracked.
"1 must have fainted as the next thing I knew was a terrible pain in my side. I screamed and passed out again."
Mgr Spraggon was discovered tying on the floor of his room by a local fireman and a soldier who thought he was dead. His life was probably saved by his cracked ribs, because when his rescuers dragged him out by his legs, the pain which caused him to scream out helped to revive him. He suffered extensive damage to his lungs from the smoke, but this week lit said: "Now I'm as fit as a fiddle again. I hope to leave hospital next week."
The stout-hearted Falklands priest, a Mill Hill missionary from Newcastle, received the OBE from the Queen last year. Shortly after, he was received by the Pope in a private audience.