Harrison Ford plane crash: Actor will make full recovery thanks to 'beautifully executed' landing

The 72-year-old was forced to crash land his plane on a California golf course

Lizzie Dearden
Friday 06 March 2015 09:07 GMT
An airplane sits after crash landing at Penmar Golf Course in Venice California
An airplane sits after crash landing at Penmar Golf Course in Venice California

Harrison Ford is expected to make a full recovery after his Second World War-era plane crashed on a golf course in California.

“I would say that this is an absolutely beautifully executed - what we would call - a forced or emergency landing, by an unbelievably well-trained pilot,” he added.

Ford, who was flying alone, managed to avoid nearby homes and people on the ground as the plane came down.

Eddie Aguglia, 47, said he looked up from the eighth hole to see the vintage plane with “US Army” on its underside passing above his head.

“The engine gave a little sputter” and died, he added.

Officials work on the scene at Penmar Golf Course

Jeff Kuprycz, another golfer, said the aircraft “banked sharply to the left” then went down. “There was no explosion or anything. It just sounded like a car hitting the ground or a tree or something,” he added.

Ford’s yellow 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR with stars on its wings and stripes on the tail, was left upright and mostly intact on the fairway.

The actor had taken off normally from nearby Santa Monica Municipal Airport at 2pm local time (10pm GMT) but 20 minutes later, he told the control tower the engine and failed and he was making an immediate return.

Harrison Ford is an experienced pilot

The plane had been flying at about 3,000 feet and hit a tree on the way down, according to witnesses and officials.

Patrick Butler, Los Angeles Assistant Fire Chief, said bystanders pulled Ford from the aircraft because they were afraid it would explode or catch fire.

Planes taking off and landing at the same airport have previously crashed into houses and in September 2013, four people were killed when their small plane veered into a hangar and caught fire.

“He wasn't a bloody mess,” Mr Butler added. “He was alert. He had good vitals.”

The actor was seen with a cut to his forehead and scraped arms but doctors have not announced the extent of his injuries.

His son, Ben Ford, described him as "battered but ok", calling the action hero an "incredibly strong man" who is "every bit the man you would think he is".

Ford's publicist, Ina Treciokas, said he had no choice but to make an emergency landing. She said his injuries “are not life threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery”.

It was the latest and most serious in a series of close calls for the action star, who seems to have a taste for aerial thrills.

After getting his pilot's license in the 1990s, Ford has made headlines with daring exploits including rescuing a missing 13-year-old boy scout with his helicopter in 2001 and airlifting a trapped mountain climber in Wyoming to safety the year before.

Actor Harrison Ford in his helicopter in 2001, where he found and rescued 13-year-old boy scout Cody Clawson in Wyoming

In a previous air accident, he was taking off from a runway in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2000 when a gust of wind sent his six-seater plane off the runway. Ford and his passenger were not injured.

Filming on Star Wars: The Force Awakens was shut down for several weeks last July after Ford broke his leg during a shoot at Pinewood Studios near London.

The accident involved the spacecraft door of the Millennium Falcon, which makes a return in the highly anticipated film.

America’s National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash in a process that could take up to a year before a final report.

Investigator Patrick Jones said: “We're going to look at everything: weather, man, the machine.”

Additional reporting by AP

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