LOS ANGELES: Harrison Ford’s airplane suffered engine failure shortly after take-off, forcing him to perform a swift U-turn before hitting a tree and crashing onto a golf course, investigators said Tuesday.
In a preliminary report into last week’s crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” star was “seriously injured” in the accident.
Ford’s World War II vintage aircraft suffered “substantial” damage to both wings and fuselage in the crash shortly after take-off from Santa Monica airport, west of Los Angeles, it said.
“Following takeoff from runway 21, the pilot advised of an engine failure and requested an immediate return to the airport,” said the initial NTSB report, citing traffic control tower exchanges with the pilot.
“The pilot initiated a left turn back towards the airport; the airplane subsequently struck the top of a tall tree prior to impacting the ground in an open area of a golf course, about 800 feet southwest” of the runway.
The NTSB said that a final report into the accident last Thursday will not be released for about a year.
A spokeswoman for the actor was not immediately available to give an update on his condition, or to say whether he has left the hospital.
Ford, an aviation enthusiast with years of flying under his belt, was piloting a Ryan PT-22 two-place open cockpit trainer, one of many hundreds manufactured during World War II to train US military pilots.
One of the biggest names in Hollywood, the actor rose to fame as smuggler Han Solo in the blockbuster “Star Wars” movies.
He also played the lead in the popular “Indiana Jones” movies, as well as in a string of Hollywood hits — and misses — from the acclaimed “Witness” and “The Fugitive” to the panned “Random Hearts.” (AFP)