HOLLYWOOD legend Harrison Ford is “battered, but ok” after the plane he was piloting crash-landed on a golf course, his son has said.
The 72-year-old actor, who starred in blockbusters including the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies, was the only occupant of the single-engine plane when it came down on the green on Penmar Golf Course in the Venice area of Los Angeles at 2.30pm (10.30pm GMT).
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.”
Initial reports said the pilot was critically injured but Patrick Butler of the city’s Fire Department (LAFD), who would not officially identify Ford due to privacy restrictions, later said he suffered moderate injuries.
Speaking from the scene of the crash he said: “He suffered basically some moderate trauma and he was alert and conscious and paramedics from LAFD transported the patient to the local area hospital.”
In a recording on the website LiveATC.net a man, believed to be Ford, is heard to say “engine failure, immediate return”.
The crash is understood to have happened shortly after the plane took off.
Ford is an avid pilot, and last year became a lifelong member of a Shropshire flying club.
The actor was in the area while working on JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII and called the club to rent a plane while there.
Bob Pooler, the club’s chief instructor, said he took a test flight with the big screen legend before signing him up as a lifelong member.
Mr Pooler said he later delivered a plane from Sleap Airfield, near Wem, to Denham, close to Pinewood Studios.
Describing the plane’s occupant as “an experienced pilot”, air crash investigator Patrick Jones told a press conference the vintage aircraft had clipped the top of a tree on an attempted return to the runway at Santa Monica airport before landing on the golf course.
Asked about Ford’s condition, he said: “We believe that he is going to survive.”
Flying allows “great freedom”, Harrison Ford once said, describing his passion for piloting aeroplanes.
Ironically the now wealthy star had to quit flying lessons while he was at college because he couldn’t afford the 15 dollars an hour payment. However, after his film career flourished, he was able to gain his licence and has since bought a number of aircraft.
“One of the things I like best about flying, I guess, is that when I’m up here I’m Beaver November 280 or Helicopter 35 Lima - another pilot, another aeroplane, not a movie actor,” he said in the 2002 documentary Harrison Ford: Just Another Pilot.
“Up here I don’t think about much except flying. I know what my duties and responsibilities are and everything else just kind of falls away. That’s very restful for me.”
Recalling his first solo flight, Ford, who is married to Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, said his landing was “ugly”.
“(I) did that terrible thing you can do in a (Cessna) 206 and let the nose-wheel bounce and, boy... I went porpoising down the runway like nothing I’d ever seen.”
He added: “It was ugly. Poor Terry Bender (flight instructor). There was nothing he could do. I’m sure I scared the bejesus out of him.”
Ford, who also has a licence to fly helicopters, has incorporated his love for flying into his films, including Six Days Seven Nights.
The latest crash is not his first. In 1999 he was on a helicopter training flight when he crash-landed in Los Angeles, but both he and the instructor escaped unhurt.
A year later he had to make an emergency landing in Nebraska in windy conditions, but again he was unhurt.
Away from flying, Ford suffered a broken leg less than a year ago on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios. While police at the time said the incident involved a garage door, there were suggestions it was the door of Solo’s Millennium Falcon spacecraft.
Ford said he likes to challenge himself when it comes to flying, but added: “I always make sure I don’t over-challenge myself, I’ve had a lot of good people look after me and help keep me safe.”