US & Canada

Harrison Ford injured in plane crash

Media captionHarrison Ford to Air Traffic Control: "Engine failure, immediate return"

US actor Harrison Ford has been injured in a small plane crash in Los Angeles.

The 72-year-old star of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films reported engine failure and crash-landed his vintage plane on a Venice golf course.

He was breathing and alert when medics arrived and took him to hospital in a "fair to moderate" condition, a fire department spokesman said.

His son Ben, a chef in Los Angeles, later tweeted from the hospital: "Dad is OK. Battered but OK!

His publicist said: "The injuries sustained are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery,"

Media captionAerial footage showed the wrecked plane on a golf course

The nature of Ford's injuries have not been disclosed but website TMZ, which first reported the story, said he suffered "multiple gashes to his head".

Shortly after take-off from Santa Monica Airport, he said he was having engine failure with his 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR and was making an "immediate return".

He was unable to reach the runway and landed on the Penmar Golf Course, where onlookers pulled him from the plane fearing it could explode.

Aerial catastrophes averted

  • A drone nearly struck a plane as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport last year
  • Three planes carrying about 200 people came close to colliding in 2012 at Washington's Reagan National Airport
  • In the "miracle of Hudson" of 2009, a pilot had to ditch into New York's Hudson river after both engines failed. All 155 passengers and crew were saved
  • Two Japan Airlines jets with almost 700 people on board came within 10m (10 yards) of colliding in 2001, because of air traffic control confusion
  • The cargo door on a plane leaving Miami airport blew off during takeoff in 1989, but it was able to return safely
  • A hole blew open in the fuselage of a jet in Hawaii in 1988. A stewardess was sucked out of the plane but it landed safely, with passengers escaping with injuries

Officials said the plane had been flying at about 3,000 feet (900m) and hit a tree on the way down.

"It just sounded like a car hitting the ground or a tree or something," Jeff Kuprycz, who was playing golf told the Associated Press news agency. "He ended up crashing around the eighth hole."

Christian Fry of the Santa Monica Airport Association said it was "an absolutely beautifully executed emergency landing by an unbelievably well-trained pilot".

Film producer Ryan Kavanaugh, who also witnessed the accident from his office, told The Hollywood Reporter: "He literally had five seconds, and 99% of pilots would have turned around to go back to the runway and would have crashed."

"Harrison did what the best pilots in the world would do," he continued. "He made the correct turn that the plane was designed for with an engine out."

'Moderate trauma'

After crash-landing, Ford was initially treated by doctors who happened to be at the golf course.

Later this year, Ford is reprising his role of Han Solo in the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Media captionBob Pooler, Shropshire Aero Club: Harrison Ford 'a very competent pilot'

He broke his leg in June last year on set at Pinewood Studios while filming a scene involving a door on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Ford took up flying when he was in his 50s and is also trained to fly helicopters.

In 1999, Ford crash-landed his helicopter during a training flight in Los Angeles but both he and the instructor were unhurt.

A year later a plane he was flying had to make an emergency landing in Nebraska. Again he and his passenger escaped unhurt.

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