UPDATE, 5:21 PM: Harrison Ford is “battered but OK” according to his son Ben. The younger Ford just sent out a tweet from the hospital with the Star Wars star. In a follow up Ben Ford said, “Thank you all for your thoughts and good vibes for my dad.” The Force is strong with this one.
Ford’s agency UTA also issued the following statement this evening. “Harrison was flying a WW2 vintage plane today which suffered engine failure upon take off,” they said. “He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely. 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.”
PREVIOUS, 4:19 PM: Harrison Ford was injured today when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed on a golf course just west of Santa Monica Airport. Law enforcement officials tell Deadline that the actor is in fair to moderate condition at a local hospital after the 2:30 PM crash at Penmar Golf Course. “I can report he left the scene conscious and breathing,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Patrick Butler said at a news conference. LAFD officials said a witness on the ground told them the World War II-era PT-22 trainer plane had just taken off and had some kind of mechanical problem. Ford, who has been flying planes for nearly 50 years and is very familiar with Santa Monica Airport, was the only person aboard and was outside the plane when first responders arrived.
The PT-22 has two seats,” aviation expert Miles O’Brien said on CNN, “but if you’re flying solo, you fly from the rear cockpit. That was a good thing that he was in the back seat, since the plane hit a tree on the way down.”
FAA officials are on the scene and are coordinating with the National Transportation Safety Board. The landing of the plane left the golf course’s 18th fairway almost untarnished except for an about 15-ft divot and a few broken branches on nearby tree.
“Almost every day of the year, most planes at the airport take off to the west,” Butler said. “When you take off, because of neighbors, pilots are told to sidestep to left and fly over that golf course. Ford was flying over the golf course on the departure end of the runway. The plane was pointed back to the runway; something happened that caused him to turn around. He was trying to make it back to the airport.”
Ford also was involved in a helicopter crash in 1999. He and an instructor were on a training flight when the chopper landed hard and rolled over near Santa Clarita, about 30 miles from today’s crash site. Last year, he broke his ankle on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens when a hydraulic door fell on him.
David Robb and Lisa De Moraes contributed to this report.