“Indiana Jones” star’s plane went down at golf course near Santa Monica Airport
“Indiana Jones” star Harrison Ford is in “fair to moderate” condition after crashing his plane at the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California on Thursday.
While the Los Angeles Fire Department would not identify the lone crash victim, a spokeswoman for the actor confirmed to TheWrap that it was indeed Ford, saying he “had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely.”
The spokeswoman added that Ford’s injuries are not life-threatening, and “he is expected to make a full recovery.”
Ford had just taken off from nearby Santa Monica Airport and requested a return before the aircraft crashed, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The actor is being treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, officials said.
During a news conference Thursday evening, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board would not comment on the cause of the crash, saying, “It is the very beginning of the investigation.” The spokesman added that the aircraft would be recovered from the golf course Friday morning.
No one on the ground was injured, but witnesses reported that Ford had scratches on his head.
The 72-year-old actor had been flying a World War II training plane, a Ryan Aeronautical model ST3KR, built in 1942.
In a call to air-traffic control workers prior to the crash, Ford reported that his plane had experienced “engine failure” and requested to make an “immediate return” to the airport.
Golf-course employee Howard Tabe told NBC News, “There was blood all over his face… Two very fine doctors were treating him, taking good care of him. I helped put a blanket under his hip.”
Geoff Erwin, who was golfing on the 5th hole of Penmar, was in the middle of his game when he noticed the aircraft hovering above the fairway.
“The engine stalled,” Erwin told TheWrap, “and then the plane crashed into the golf course about ten feet from the fenced-in [perimeter].”
The two-seater aircraft then crash landed with a loud bang, according to Erwin.
A woman who lives near the golf course was interviewed at the scene and told reporters that she had a clear view of the entire incident.
The pilot survived the crash landing and his legs were moving, the woman said, though he was bleeding when first responders pulled him from the wreckage.
During a press conference following the crash, Patrick Butler, 11th district chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said that Ford — who Butler did not identify by name — was “initially rescued by some bystanders who were here on the golf course” and was transported to a local hospital “in fair to moderate condition.”
Butler added that Ford had suffered “moderate trauma, and he was alert and conscious.”
Beatrice Girmala of the Los Angeles Police Department told reporters that the FAA is coordinating the investigation and is in communication with the NTSB.
Ford, an avid aviator and longtime tenant of Santa Monica Airport, was among those who filed a federal complaint with the FAA to keep the airport open last year.
The actor has been involved in two crashes in the past; in 2000, he crashed a six-passenger plane in Lincoln, Nebraska, while the previous year he crashed a helicopter 60 miles outside of Los Angeles.
Ford is best known for his roles as pilot Han Solo in the “Star Wars” films and in the title role in the “Indiana Jones” films. He recently reprised the Solo role for the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed film “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” due out at the end of this year.
The actor was nominated for a best actor Oscar for “Witness,” and has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe awards.
Watch TheWrap’s footage from the crash site below.
L.A. Ross and Matt Donnelly contributed to this report.