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Harrison Ford injured in plane crash

Andrew Blankstein and Hasani Gittens
Harrison Ford's plane crashes on Cali golf course

Actor Harrison Ford was "battered but OK" Thursday after his vintage World War II training plane crash landed on a California golf course, authorities and family members said.

The 72-year-old actor, who was conscious and breathing when rescue crews reached him, was stabilized and taken to a hospital, where he was in fair to moderate condition, authorities said. Sources said he sustained cuts to his head. There was no word on other injuries or what caused the plane to crash about 2:20 p.m. (5:20 p.m. ET). It appeared he was flying solo.

Ben Ford, the well-known restaurateur and the actor's son, said on Twitter that his dad was "battered, but OK!"

"We are very thankful that the passenger had [only] very moderate injuries," Los Angeles Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Butler said.

An eyewitness, Howard Teba, an employee at Penmar Golf Course, said he put a blanket under Ford's hip.

"There was blood all over his face," Teba said. "Two very fine doctors were treating him, taking good care of him."

The plane, a single-engine Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, crashed on the golf course shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport, said Patrick Jones, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. The pilot reported a loss of engine power, clipped the top of a tree and was trying to return to the airport, Jones said.

Photo of the crashed plane in Mar Vista, California

"I'm sure the pilot was glad there was a golf course here," he said.

Mike Bonin, a Los Angeles City Council member, agreed, telling NBC Los Angeles: "Thank God that this incident happened on a golf course where there is a relatively open space."

Bonis has lobbied to close the airport as being inadequate. "This airport is remarkably close to residential areas and flight schools, which is very concerning," he said.

His injuries were originally described as "critical," but sources emphasized they are better characterized as serious, including lacerations to the head and possible fractures.

An avid flyer of both planes and helicopters, Ford was in a bad crash of a Bell chopper in 1999 Santa Clara, California. In 2008, he told National Geographic, "Well, there was a mechanical failure while we were practicing power recovery autorotations. It was more or less a hard landing. Luckily, I was with another aviation professional and neither of us was hurt — and both of us are still flying."

The Federal Aviation Administration is joining the NTSB investigation, Jones said. He said the investigation could take as long as a year because the plane was a vintage model that didn't have a "black box" data recorder.

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