Actor Harrison Ford was hospitalized Thursday afternoon after a single-engine vintage plane he was piloting crash landed onto a Venice golf course shortly after takeoff.
Just before 4:30 p.m. a family member confirmed to NBC4 that the actor is “fine” and suffered a few gashes. He is expected to undergo surgery for some injuries, but is in stable condition, the family said.
Dr. Sanjay Khurana, a spinal surgeon on the course, braved a potentially explosive situation to help the actor.
“I did a brief exam and I smelled the fuel and I didn’t want it to ignite,” he told NBC4.
As he was examining the pilot, the doctor realized he was looking at a familiar face.
“We all watched ‘Star Wars’ as a kid. ‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’ … iconic films.”
Ford, an experienced pilot, reported engine trouble shortly after take off and tried to return to the airport, according to the NTSB.
Ford’s son, Ben Ford, posted on his Twitter page that his father was “OK. Battered, but OK!
“He is every bit the man you would think he is. “He is an incredibly strong man.
Thank you for all your thoughts and good vibes for my dad.”
Ford’s publicist said he was flying a World War II vintage plane which had engine trouble on takeoff.
“He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely,” his publicist said in a statement. “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.”
Aerial footage of the minutes after the crash showed the small single-engine vintage World War II trainer plane crashed on the ground at Penmar Golf Club. One person could be seen being treated by paramedics.
Fire and NTSB officials said the emergency landing was handled skillfully, and no one else was injured.
Firefighters described his injuries as “moderate.”
In a 2008 interview with National Geographic, Ford talked about his love of flying.
“I fly myself everywhere. I like all kinds of flying, including practical flying for search and rescue. And I also like to fly into the backcountry, usually the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho,” the “Indiana Jones” actor told the magazine. “I go with a group of friends, and we set up camp for about five days and explore little dirt strips and canyons.”
He also recalled helming a helicopter when it was forced to crash.
“Well, there was a mechanical failure while we were practicing power recovery autorotations. It was more or less a hard landing,” he recalled. “Luckily, I was with another aviation professional and neither of us was hurt — and both of us are still flying.”
The cause of Thursday’s plane crash is not yet known.
Witnesses saw the plane clip a tree before coming down.
“We saw this beautiful plane. It looks like a plane I see often, leaving from Santa Monica Airport,” said Howard Teba, who was at the golf course when the plane crashed. “Must have hit the top of a tree.”
Teba said it appeared that the pilot was the only person on board the plane. Two men who are apparently doctors were golfing at the time and came to the actor’s aid, Teba said.
The plane crashed on the golf course just west of the airport shortly after takeoff from the Santa Monica Airport, according to Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Ford’s career in Hollywood took off after he starred as Han Solo in “Star Wars” in 1977, but it was his role as the adventurous protagonist in the “Indiana Jones” movies that became his most iconic.
After six decades of acting, the actor still stars in blockbuster hits like the baseball sports drama “42” and has signed on for another film reprising his futuristic thriller “Blade Runner.”