Harrison Ford's plane lost power before LA crash: investigators

Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:30am EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Harrison Ford's vintage airplane lost engine power shortly before he crash-landed at a Los Angeles golf course last week, a report released on Tuesday said.

The preliminary findings from the National Transportation Safety Board confirm Ford's own radio transmissions reporting an engine failure to the control tower at the Santa Monica Airport last Thursday as he brought the plane down on the eighth fairway at the golf course.

Ford, 72, known for playing the iconic characters Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and its sequels and Han Solo in the "Star Wars" franchise, was seriously injured in the crash of the 1942 single-engine Ryan Aeronautical ST-3KR plane, which is also known as a PT-22 Recruit.

The crash, which occurred a short distance from houses, follows years of complaints by residents in the heavily populated beachside community that the airport interferes with their quality of life.

The National Transportation Safety Board's report released on Tuesday said Ford's plane "sustained substantial damage following a loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing after take-off from the Santa Monica Municipal Airport."

Ford made a left turn back to the airport when he lost power and on his descent the aircraft struck the top of a tree and crashed onto the golf course, about 800 feet (244 meters) southwest of the approach end of a runway, the report said.

The report does not name Ford as the pilot and sole occupant of the plane but his spokeswoman has confirmed it was him.

The NTSB is continuing its investigation of the crash following its initial findings released on Tuesday.

Ford was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in fair to moderate condition. He was still in the hospital on Monday, according to a report from ABC News. A spokeswoman for the actor declined to comment on Monday and she could not immediately be reached on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bill Trott)

 
Actor Harrison Ford's damaged airplane is taken away after its crash landing at Penmar Golf Course in Venice, Los Angeles California March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson