The wreckage of Harrison Ford's Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR plane sits on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, just west of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo by John Schreiber.
The wreckage of Harrison Ford’s Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR plane sits on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, just west of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo by John Schreiber.
The wreckage of Harrison Ford’s Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR plane sits on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, just west of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo by John Schreiber.

Updated at 12:31 p.m., March 6, 2015

“Battered, but OK,” actor Harrison Ford remained hospitalized Friday with injuries he suffered when the World War II-era single- engine plane he was piloting lost power and crashed on a Venice golf course shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport.

Meanwhile, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board removed the wreckage of Ford’s Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR from the crash site with the help of city firefighters as they continued their investigation in what caused the plane to go down around 2:25 p.m. Thursday on a fairway at Penmar Golf Course, 1233 Rose Ave.

Ford, 72, was the only person aboard the restored, single-engine plane. The Ryan planes were built in the 1930s and ’40s and were used to train military pilots from the United States and other countries.

Area residents said this was the second time in recent years a plane crashed at Penmar, a nine-hole Los Angeles city course.

LAFD Assistant Chief Patrick Butler said the pilot was outside the plane when crews arrived and was taken to a hospital, suffering “moderate” trauma. He was alert and conscious while being treated at the scene, fire officials said.

“Normally, the outcomes are fatalities, so we are very thankful,” he said.

The wreckage of Harrison Ford’s Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR plane sits on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, just west of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo by John Schreiber.
The wreckage of Harrison Ford’s Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR plane sits on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, just west of the Santa Monica Airport. Photo by John Schreiber.

Ford’s publicist said in a statement that the 72-year-old actor was banged up, but his injuries are not life-threatening and he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Ford’s son, Ben Ford, posted on his Twitter page that his father was “OK. Battered, but OK!”

“He is every bit the man you would think he is,” Ben Ford wrote. “He is an incredibly strong man. Thank you for all your thoughts and good vibes for my dad.”

Ford underwent surgery for a broken ankle and pelvis, according to family sources quoted by media outlets camped outside Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment, or even to confirm if Ford was being treated there.

Dr. Sanjay Khurana, a spinal surgeon who had been playing golf, told reporters he saw the plane clip a tree before coming down. He said he and others examined Ford, who had suffered soft-tissue injuries, made sure he was stable and helped him out of the plane.

NTSB Investigator Patrick Jones said the wreckage was being moved to an area hangar so it can be examined. Jones said the plane was an “award-winning” restoration.

Jones also said a preliminary report will likely be released in two weeks to a month, but the full process leading to a final report probably will take about a year.

He urged anyone with cell phone or other video related to the crash to upload it to the agency’s website at www.NTSB.gov.

The airplane landed right-side up and was largely intact, and it left gouges on the fairway.

Ford had just taken off, experienced engine trouble and was circling back to the airport when he crash-landed on the golf course, according to the NTSB, which is investigating the crash along with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We go back to the basics. The initial report was a loss of engine power. We are going to look at that but we are going to look at it all, at everything — weather, man, the machine,” Jones said earlier.

Ford, a longtime aviation enthusiast who has even piloted helicopters in search-and-rescue situations and who owns several aircraft, is active with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

He crashed a helicopter in the Lake Piru area near Santa Clarita during a training flight in 1999, and a six-passenger plane he was piloting in 2000 was hit by wind shear and crash-landed in Lincoln, Nebraska. He and his passenger emerged from that crash unhurt.

The plane that crashed Thursday is registered to MG Aviation Inc. of Camden, Delaware, according to the FAA’s online aircraft registry.

Thursday’s crash is likely to reinvigorate the debate over the future of Santa Monica Airport. Residents and some city officials have been pushing to close the airport, citing noise and safety issues. Federal authorities have insisted, however, that the city is required to keep it open.

Ford has allied himself with the effort to preserve the airport, contributing almost $26,000 to the campaign for a pro-airport ballot measure that went down to defeat in November.

Valerie Davidson, who has lived in Santa Monica for 25 years, told the Los Angeles Times that Ford “flies in and out of here all the time. He’s not a friend of the residents of this neighborhood.

“I’m pleased he’s OK, but this might be a wake-up call,” Davidson said.

Last year, Ford suffered a broken leg on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” delaying filming on the much-anticipated sequel. He is best known for playing Han Solo in three “Star Wars” movies and Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and its sequels.

—City News Service

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