Harrison Ford’s vintage World War II training plane lost engine power and crash-landed on a California golf course on Thursday, authorities and family members said. The 72-year-old actor was “battered but OK”.
Authorities said he was conscious and breathing when rescue crews reached him, was stabilized and taken to a hospital, where he was in fair to moderate condition.
Ford slammed into the plane’s console and control stick and he underwent surgery Thursday night. He sustained a broken arm and a horrid gash to his head among other injuries, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.
The well-known restaurateur and the actor’s son Ben Ford said on Twitter that his dad was “battered, but OK” after the crash, which happened about 2:20 p.m. (5:20 p.m. ET).
Ford’s publicist, Ina Treciokas, told NBC News by email Thursday night that “Harrison was flying a WW2 vintage plane today which had engine trouble upon take off. He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely,”
“Although he was banged up and is in the hospital receiving medical care, the injuries sustained are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery” Treciokas said.
Howard Teba, an employee at Penmar Golf Course, an eyewitness to the incident said he put a blanket under Ford’s hip.
Teba said. “Two very fine doctors were treating him, taking good care of him” There was blood all over his face”.
Patrick Jones, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board said the plane, a single-engine Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, crashed on the golf course shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport. The pilot reported a loss of engine power, clipped the top of a tree and was trying to return to the airport, Jones said.
“I’m sure the pilot was glad there was a golf course here,” he said.
Joe Justice, president of Justice Aviation, a flight school in Santa Monica said “One thing you can say about the city planners of Santa Monica way back then when they put in a golf course is that it was a wise choice. There are many airports that do have golf courses nearby … and many pilots are grateful.”
Ford was in a bad crash of a Bell chopper in 1999 Santa Clara, California being an enthusiastic flyer of both helicopters and plane. In an interview by National Geographic in 2008 he said, “Well, there was a mechanical failure while we were practicing power recovery auto-rotations. It was more or less a hard landing. Luckily, I was with another aviation professional and neither of us was hurt — and both of us are still flying.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is joining the NTSB conduct an investigation that could take as long as a year because the plane was a vintage model that didn’t have a “black box” data recorder.