By Tami Abdollah and Andrew Dalton
LOS ANGELES — Harrison Ford crash-landed his vintage plane Thursday after losing engine power, suffering serious but not life-threatening injuries as he used his extensive piloting experience to skillfully bring down the plane on a golf course and avoid nearby homes.
Ford’s publicist Ina Treciokas said in a statement that Ford had no other choice but to make an emergency landing.
She said his injuries “are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”
Ford was about a half-mile west of the airport and flying at 3,000 feet when he told air traffic controllers that his engine failed, interim Santa Monica City Manager Elaine Polachek said in an email to city officials.
Ford’s plane “apparently hit a tree on the way down,” and in addition to a cut forehead Ford may have broken his leg, the email said.
The plane, a yellow 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR with stars on its wings, was upright and mostly intact after the crash. No one on the ground was hurt.
“I would say that this is an absolutely beautifully executed — what we would call — a forced or emergency landing, by an unbelievably well-trained pilot,” said Christian Fry of the Santa Monica Airport Association.
The airport’s single runway sits amid residential neighborhoods in the city of more than 90,000 on the Pacific Ocean. City leaders and many residents advocate closing the airport, citing noise and safety concerns.
Other airplanes taking off or landing there have crashed into homes, and in September 2013 four people died when their small jet veered into a hangar and caught fire.
Ford, who keeps his plane at the airport, took off at 2 p.m. About 20 minutes later, he told the tower he had engine failure and was making an immediate return, according to a recording posted by the website LiveATC.net.
He came down on a fairway of Penmar golf course.