Now that he seems to have recovered fully, new details are emerging about actor Harrison Ford’s March 5 plane crash in Santa Monica, Calif. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded its investigation of the crash and determined that the 73-year-old was not at fault – his plane was.
The new information confirms information in previous reports on the Board’s preliminary investigation done in March. Ford was flying an antique 1942 World War II plane at the time of the incident. While climbing to his desired altitude, he discovered that his engine was failing and tried to return to the airport. Ford realized that he wasn’t going to make it and skillfully landed the plane on an empty stretch at a nearby golf course.
In addition to determining the cause of the accident, the report also features the first glimpse at Ford’s own first-hand recollection of the incident. Not surprisingly, the pilot’s memory of the event is spotty at best. However, the report, posted courtesy of the L.A. Times, includes a synopsis of the actor’s statement.
"The pilot reported ... the engine experienced a loss of power. He stated that he did not attempt an engine restart but maintained an airspeed of 85 mph and initiated a left turn back toward the airport; however, during the approach, he realized that the airplane was unable to reach the runway," the report reads.
What Ford didn’t realize is, while trying to land the plane on the golf course, he clipped a very tall 65-foot tree that sent the plane into the ground faster than expected.
ABC reports that, according to the final findings of the NTSB, the plane’s main metering jet likely came loose due to its old age. This resulted in an excess of fuel flow that caused the loss of engine power. Luckily for fans of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” actor, he’s a skilled pilot who has accumulated 5,200 total flight hours. The Han Solo actor managed to land the plane without any injury to others but, in doing so, suffered some pretty serious harm. At the time, KTLA reported that Ford suffered a laceration on his forehead as well as a broken pelvis and ankle. He was in the hospital for several weeks recovering while his wife, Calista Flockhart, sat diligently by his side. Fortunately, he was healed up in time to join the rest of his cast members at the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” panel at the San-Diego Comic Con in July.
You can check out the complete report from the NTSB here (via The L.A. Times).