Harrison Ford plane crash: Doctor feared fireball
THE doctor who pulled Harrison Ford from the wreck of a plane crash has described how he feared a fireball from the aircraft’s leaking fuel.
Spine surgeon Sanjay Khurana was playing golf in Los Angeles when the American actor’s vintage plane “belly-flopped” down on to the eighth hole.
He said the 72-year-old star of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films was “very lucky” to be alive.
After Thursday’s crash, Ford’s son said the actor was “battered but OK!”
Ford’s publicist said: “The injuries sustained are not life-threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”
Dr Khurana, who witnessed the crash, said he initially feared the pilot would have “very serious, very tragic” injuries after the plane “dropped like a rock”.
But he said Ford looked “remarkably intact” when he and other golfers reached him.
“Obviously there was a pilot who was in distress and there was fuel leaking and so my concern was that it was going to ignite,” Dr Khurana told reporters.
He said the fuel leak was “pretty robust” and that he thought it could be set alight by “stray cigarette butts or electronics” so asked volunteers to cover it with dirt while he and others helped pull Ford from the plane.
“He’s not a small guy,” Dr Khurana added.
The rescuers did not immediately recognise the pilot but the surgeon said it did not take them long to work it out.
“I’m an 80s child so I grew up watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones,” Dr Khurana said. “I’m a big fan”.
The nature of Ford’s injuries has not been disclosed but the TMZ website, which first reported the story, said he suffered “multiple gashes to his head”.
Shortly after take-off from Santa Monica Airport, Ford said he was experiencing engine failure with his 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR and was making an “immediate return”.
He was unable to reach the runway and eventually crash-landed on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice.
Officials said the plane had been flying at about 3,000 feet (900m) before losing altitude and clipping a tree on the way down.
Christian Fry of the Santa Monica Airport Association said it was “an absolutely beautifully executed emergency landing by an unbelievably well-trained pilot”.
Later this year, Ford is reprising his role as Han Solo in the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
He broke his leg in June last year on set at Pinewood Studios while filming a scene involving a door on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.
Ford took up flying when he was in his 50s and is also trained to fly helicopters.
In 1999, Ford crash-landed his helicopter during a training flight in Los Angeles but both he and the instructor were unhurt.
A year later a plane he was flying had to make an emergency landing in Nebraska. Again he and his passenger escaped unhurt.
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