AS THE action hero Indiana Jones, cheating death by leaping from stricken planes was all in a day’s work.
However, Hollywood heart throb Harrison Ford had a real life amazing escape after he was forced to crash-land the plane he was piloting on a golf course.
The 72-year-old, who has starred in a series of blockbusters, was left bloodied with a “huge” cut on his head after he managed to land the craft safely.
He was the only occupant of the single-engine Second World War vintage plane when it came down in the Venice area of Los Angeles.
It was the latest and most serious in a series of crashes and close calls for the action-adventure A-lister who, like his Star Wars alter-ego Han Solo, has a taste for aerial thrills.
He was pulled from the plane by golfers and course workers who saw it come down about a quarter of a mile short of the runway at Santa Monica Municipal Airport on Thursday afternoon, and taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
The actor’s son, Ben, said his father is “incredibly strong” and thanked the public for their good wishes.
“At the hospital. Dad is ok. Battered, but ok! He is every bit the man you would think he is. He is an incredibly strong man,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you all for your thoughts and good vibes for my dad.”
Ford’s publicist, Ina Treciokas, said in a statement yesterday that Ford 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”.
Ford took off from the airport at 2pm local time. About 20 minutes later, he told the tower he had engine failure and was making an immediate return.
The plane had been flying at about 3,000 feet and hit a tree on the way down, according to witnesses and officials.
The plane, a yellow 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR with stars on its wings, was upright and mostly intact after the crash. No-one on the ground was hurt.
“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,” said Christian Fry of the Santa Monica Airport Association.
Charlie Thomson, a flight instructor at the airport who saw Ford take off, said engine failure such as Ford’s plane suffered does not make the plane harder to manoeuvre. “It just means you have to go down,” he said.
Ford had a cut to his forehead and scraped arms, but it was not clear what internal injuries he may have had, Los Angeles Fire Chief Patrick Butler said. “He wasn’t a bloody mess. He was alert,” he added.
Eyewitness Eddie Agoglia, 47, who was golfing on the eighth hole at the course, said: “The engine gave a little sputter” and died.
Jeff Kuprycz, another golfer, said the plane “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,”
Ford is returning to play the swashbuckling Han Solo in his fourth Star Wars movie, set for release in December.
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