Shropshire Pilot Who Flew With Harrison Ford Speaks To Heart After Crash
6 March 2015, 15:35
A West Midlands flying instructor's told Heart Harrison Ford's crash landing in a small plane in LA proves his skill in flying.
The 72-year-old Star Wars actor was reportedly left bloodied with a `"huge'' cut on his head after the plane he was piloting crash-landed on a golf course in Los Angeles.
He was the only person in the single-engine vintage Second World War plane when it came down in the Venice area.
Last year, he became a lifelong member of a Shropshire flying club while working on Star Wars Episode VII.
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.
He's been speaking to Heart after news of the crash:
A spokesman for Ford said: "Harrison was flying a WW2 vintage plane which stalled upon take-off. He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely. The injuries sustained are not life-threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery.''
Initial reports said the "experienced'' 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 at Penmar Golf Course, 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.''
A witness told the TMZ website that the plane nose dived straight on to the 8th hole tee box, leaving Ford with a very deep cut.
The witness reportedly said: "I was one of the first people to run from the hole toward the plane. Four to five men pulled the pilot out of the plane. They got him away from the plane. They were concerned it would catch on fire.
"Two doctors were there - and they had a first aid box with them. He was conscious, talking a little - a huge cut on his head. A swath of his skin was missing. There was blood dripping down his face.''
The actor's son Ben said his father is "incredibly strong'' and thanked the public for their good wishes.
Air crash investigator Patrick Jones told a press conference that 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.''
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will now investigate the crash in a process that could take up to a year before a final report.
The accident is understood to have happened shortly after the plane took off and in a recording on the website LiveATC.net, a man - believed to be Ford - is heard to say "engine failure, immediate return''.
Ford, who is married to actress Calista Flockhart, got his pilot's license in the 1990s and has made headlines with his flying before - although he had never been significantly injured doing it.
He has been involved in several rescues and a plane he was piloting was blown off a runway in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2000.
He has also volunteered his services during forest-fire season, when rescue helicopters are busy fighting blazes.