Harrison Ford Injured in Small-Plane Crash at Golf Course Near Santa Monica Airport: All the Details

Actor is a veteran pilot of both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; officials tell E! News the 72-year-old's injuries do not appear life-threatening

By Natalie Finn Mar 06, 2015 12:08 AMTags
Harrison FordDavid Fisher/Rex/REX USA

Harrison Ford sustained moderate injuries after a small plane he was piloting crashed at a golf course in Venice, Calif., on Thursday afternoon, authorities confirm.

The single-engine plane crashed on the grounds of the Penmar Golf Course, which is near Santa Monica Airport, L.A. Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott tells E! News. The solo occupant, a male adult, was quickly treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital, where he is in critical condition.

No other injuries were reported.

LAFD and the Santa Monica Fire Department are on the scene and working with the National Transportation Safety Board, who will lead the investigation, Scott added. 

A SMFD official tells us, meanwhile, that the pilot remained conscious and alert throughout and his injuries, including a head laceration and a possibly broken leg, did not appear to be life-threatening. 

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Scott did not initially identify Ford as the pilot of the aircraft, but a source confirmed to E! News that Ford was flying the plane. L.A.'s KNBC and TMZ had previously reported that it was him and a number of social media sightings put the actor at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration told KNBC that the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

"The patient was outside of the plane when paramedics arrived at the scene," a fire official told reporters at a press conference at the golf course following the accident.

Ford, 72, is a longtime pilot and is licensed to privately fly both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He is said to keep his planes at the Santa Monica Airport when they're not in use at his ranch in Jackson, Wyo.

During a 2000 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, the iconic actor joked about a helicopter crash he'd been in the year before, saying wryly, "I broke it," in reference to the Bell 206L4 Long Ranger that went down over the Lake Piru riverbed near Santa Clarita, Calif.

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"I fly myself everywhere," Ford told National Geographic in 2008. "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. I go with a group of friends, and we set up camp for about five days and explore little dirt strips and canyons."

Asked again about his famous helicopter crash, the Indiana Jones star recalled, "Well, there was a mechanical failure while we were practicing power recovery autorotations. It was more or less a hard landing. Luckily, I was with another aviation professional and neither of us was hurt—and both of us are still flying." Regarding the state of the aircraft, "it wasn't quite intact" after the crash, he said.

While shooting the Star Wars: The Force Awakens in England last fall, Ford joined the Shropshire Aero Club so that he could continue to enjoy his No. 1 hobby while on the job.

"To rent the aeroplanes from Sleap you have to become a member and Harrison paid his membership dues until the end of the year," Bob Pooler, the club's chief instructor, told BBC News in October. Asked about Ford's own collection of aircraft, Pooler said, "I think he's got his own mini air force of about 11 aeroplanes."

—Reporting by Holly Passalaqua

(Originally published on March 5, 2015, at 3:41 p.m. PT)

Watch: Eyewitness Shares Details on Harrison Ford Plane Crash