The Hollywood actor Harrison Ford suffered serious injuries - but escaped with his life - after the small plane he was piloting crashed onto a Los Angeles golf course.
The 72-year-old star of movies such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, was said to have suffered moderate trauma but was alert and conscious when he was taken to a local hospital.
Officials said that Ford, who was flying solo, reported that the plane was experiencing engine failure shortly after he took off from Santa Monica Municipal Airport and was trying to return to land. Officials released a recording of the actor's calm conversation with air traffic controllers. The actor was taken to hospital where it was said he had suffered moderate trauma. His son, Ben Ford, tweeted a message to say his father was battered but alright.
"At the hospital. Dad is ok. Battered, but ok! He is every bit the man you would think he is. He is an incredibly strong man," he said.
Los Angeles Fire Brigade spokesman Patrick Butler told a press conference that the incident happened around 2.30pm local time. Reports said his plane – a yellow Ryan PT-22 Recruit that was used for training during World War II - had hit a tree as it came down and that Ford was helped by bystanders.
At the hospital. Dad is ok. Battered, but ok! He is every bit the man you would think he is. He is an incredibly strong man.Chef Ben Ford (@ChefBenFord) March 6, 2015
Patrick Jones, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident, said anytime someone walked away from such an accident they were "absolutely lucky".
"It appeared he clipped the top of a tree and came to rest on a golf course," he told reporters. "There was one person onboard."
One report said Ford had blood on his face but that this appeared to be his only obvious visible injury as he was helped from the wrecked vintage two-seater plane.
“We can confirm that there was a plane crash and the male occupant was a 65-70-year-old man. He was transported to a local hospital in stable condition,” Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Officer Nuria Vanegas said earlier.
Carlos Lugo, 63, said he was playing golf at the Penmar Golf Course when he saw a plane that he believed had taken off from nearby Santa Monica Airport lose power and turn around in an apparent attempt to return to the runway.
“When he flew over us we knew it was too late to make it back to the airport,” he told Reuters.
Images taken at the scene saw the plane landed belly-up near the eighth hole at the golf course. The fuselage was largely intact.
Reports said Ford was known as a keen aviation enthusiast and that he had been flying such aircraft since the 1960s.Reuse content