Harrison Ford survives crash-landing on Los Angeles golf course (+video)
The actor was reportedly breathing and conscious when he was taken to a nearby hospital. Ford is an aviation enthusiast who often flies around the city.
LOS ANGELES — Harrison Ford crash-landed his small vintage airplane at a Los Angeles golf course Thursday, shortly after taking off from a nearby airport and reporting engine problems.
People on the ground rushed to his aid, and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital with moderate injuries.
The single-engine plane went down at about 2:30 p.m. in Los Angeles' Venice area. The pilot was breathing and conscious when he was taken to a hospital, Los Angeles fire officials said.
Fire and police officials would not confirm the pilot's identity; however, an official familiar with the crash said it was Mr. Ford. The official spoke only condition of anonymity because of privacy restrictions.
The 72-year-old "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" actor is an aviation enthusiast who often flies out of the Santa Monica Airport. Penmar Golf Course, where the crash happened, is just west of a runway there.
In a communication with Santa Monica's air traffic control tower at 2:21 p.m., the pilot cites engine failure and says he is making an "immediate return," according to a recording posted by the website LiveATC.net.
Shortly after, witnesses reported seeing the aircraft plunge to the ground.
The plane appeared to be a World War II-era vintage training plane. It was mostly intact after the wreck, and Ford was the only person aboard.
Nobody on the ground was hurt, but people hurried to the scene and started helping Ford.
Jeff Kuprycz was golfing when he saw the plane taking off.
"Immediately you could see the engine started to sputter and just cut out, and he banked sharply to the left," he said. "He ended up crashing around the eighth hole."
Kuprycz said the plane was about 200 feet overhead when it dropped to the ground.
"There was no explosion or anything," Kuprycz said. "It just sounded like a car hitting the ground or a tree or something. Like that one little bang, and that was it."
Ford is cast to play swashbuckling space-age soldier-of-fortune Han Solo in his fourth "Star Wars" movie, set for release in December.
The original "Star Wars" in 1977 made Ford an overnight star who remains an A-list actor with several colossal box office hits in his credits. He played whip-slinging archaeologist Indiana Jones in four movies in that series.
The crash marks the second high-profile accident for Ford in the last year.
Shooting on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was shut down for several weeks last July after Ford broke his leg during filming at the Pinewood Studios outside London. The accident involved the spacecraft door of the Millennium Falcon, which makes a return in the highly anticipated film.
Returning to play Han Solo isn't the only famous role Ford is planning to reprise. He is expected to star in a sequel, currently in development, of the 1982 cult science-fiction film "Blade Runner."
An "Indiana Jones" reboot is also in early development, though that project may usher in a new actor in the leading role
Ford got his pilot's license in the late 1980s and has served as a spokesman to various airline associations. In 2009, he stepped down as chairman of a youth program for the Experimental Aircraft Association.
His flying made headlines in 2001 when he rescued a missing Boy Scout in his helicopter. Nearly a year before, he rescued an ailing mountain climber in Jackson, Wyoming.
The actor has said his rescues "had nothing to do with heroism."
"It had to do with flying a helicopter. That's all," he said.
Ford also has volunteered his services during forest-fire season, when rescue helicopter are busy fighting blazes.
In 2000 in Lincoln, Nebraska, a gust of wind sent a six-seat plane Ford was piloting off the runway. He and his passenger were not injured.