Movie star Harrison Ford appeared to do "his best to keep the airplane flying" when he crashed his single-engine, World War II-era plane onto a golf course near Santa Monica, California, said ABC News consultant Col. Stephen Ganyard.
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Ford, 72, remained hospitalized Saturday. His publicist, Ina Treciokas, has described the actor’s injuries as non-life-threatening.
"He had these fairways in front of him, and he did his best to keep the airplane flying, he didn't stall it out," said Ganyard. "It looks like he did a really good job under the circumstances."
Andrew Varenhorst, who witnessed the crash, said planes leaving Santa Monica Municipal Airport - where Ford took off from Thursday - have crashed into nearby homes before.
"Aiming for the golf course is the only open space out here, pretty much aside from the beach," he said.
Ford reported engine trouble shortly after taking off from the airport and asked for an immediate return, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Patrick Jones said Thursday. The tower then reported that his aircraft came up short of the runway, according to air traffic controller transmissions from LiveATC.net.
"You have to pick the best spots that there are, and this was apparently the best spot," Jones said of the golf course.