SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Aviation experts are applauding Harrison Ford’s handling of the frightening crash-landing of a vintage aircraft in the Venice area of Los Angeles.
Ford remained hospitalized and was recovering Friday after the crash-landing at the Penmar Golf Club Thursday afternoon.
As KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez, the fact that Ford, who received his pilot’s license in the 1990s, survived not having engine power has been the talk among fellow pilots, who said he reacted to the life-or-death situation “incredibly.”
“In a circumstance like this, it’s the ability to keep your wits about you, don’t let fear overcome your decision-making,” said Joe Justice, who is a pilot, flight instructor, and FAA examiner.
A distress call captured Ford on tape shortly after he took off from Santa Monica Airport Thursday afternoon. He never made it back to the runway, rather witnesses said they saw his vintage plane clip trees and drop about 100-feet “like a rock” onto the green.
Dr. Sanjay Khurana, a spine surgeon, was a short distance away when he dropped his golf clubs and ran to Ford’s side.
“Once we extracted him, put him on the ground, we were kind of stabilizing or just assessing him, that’s when we got to realize that it was Harrison Ford,” Khurana said.
Khurana says it took three to four people to pull Ford from the wreckage.
“My concern, even the volunteers, was that it was gonna ignite and so we motioned to have some volunteers kick dirt on the fuel,” he said.
Pilots say, in most cases, someone in Ford’s situation may not have been that lucky.
“The end result, I think, could hardly be better unless he walked away unscathed,” Justice said.
Meanwhile, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board say it could take up to a year to determine exactly what happened. They have yet to speak with Ford.