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Ford: 'I've got a bad feeling about this'

By Rebecca Hawkes ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-03-04 07:24:06

Harrison Ford's injuries, escapades and brushes with death

Harrison Ford, 74, has been reprimanded after making a dangerous error at a Californian airport, reportedly landing his plane on the wrong runway last month, and flying directly over an American Airlines passenger plane. The incident, which is currently being investigated by officials, could even lead to the long-term aviator losing his pilot's licence.

In the past, however, the movie star has experienced his fair share of danger, excitement and, injury, whether in the skies, or on the sets of his various movies.

Here's a timeline of some of Ford's many adventures (and misadventures):

1 1964: The car accident that earned him his facial scar - In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, audiences learn that the title character sustained his distinctive horizontal mark after catching a lash from a bullwhip - but in real life, that intriguing-looking scar on Ford's chin was caused by a 1964 car crash.

Speeding to his job at Bullock's department store in Orange County, California in his pre-Hollywood days, Ford reached down to fasten his seatbelt...and ended up hitting a telephone pole.

Ford: 'I've got a bad feeling about this'

"A fast car crash, a real mundane way of earning it," Ford would later recall, when asked about the scar's origins.

2 1980: A bad bout of dysentery on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark - As most movie trivia buffs already know, Ford's upset stomach indirectly helped create an iconic cinema scene. On the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the actor declared himself too ill to take part in a planned stand off with an expert swordsman, played by stuntman Terry Richards....and suggested that he his character would simply shoot his flamboyant assailant instead.

"I had chosen to eat native food, unlike Steven [Spielberg] who went to Tunisia with a steamer trunk full of SpaghettiOs, and I had suffered mightily for that," Ford recalled in 2011. "I was no longer capable of staying out of my trailer for more than it took to expose a role of film, which was 10 minutes, and then I would have to flee back there for sanitary facilities."

3 1999: Santa Clarita helicopter crash - In 1999, Ford was forced to make an emergency landing while practising auto-rotations in a Bell 206 helicopter, alongside a flight instructor. While both Ford and the instructor were uninjured, the helicopter itself, which crashed into a dry sandy riverbed near the Californian city of Santa Clarita, "landed hard", according to an official National Transportation Safety Board report on the incident and rolled over (Ford isn't named in the report, but news sources matched the dates with his accident):

The pilot was practicing autorotations to a power-on recovery. When he attempted to recover the power, the engine did not respond as quickly as anticipated and the helicopter landed hard, hitting on the rear heels of both skids. The flight instructor said that when he saw the pilot was late adding power, he attempted to correct the situation but was unsuccessful. The surface of the dry riverbed was mostly soft sand. The left skid heel contacted a log that was embedded in the sand and the helicopter pitched forward onto the skid toes and rolled over onto its left side. Both the flight instructor and pilot reported that there were no problems with the engine during prior autorotations, and, it was running after the helicopter came to rest. The engine was run in a test cell and met all of the manufacturer's perimeters. No discrepancies were found with the control or fuel systems.

4 2000: Rescues lost hiker and flies her to safety - In 2000, Ford turned volunteer rescue pilot and took to the skies in his own helicopter to help Sarah George, a hiker who had become stranded in the mountains of Idaho after suffering dehydration and altitude sickness.

The actor, who owned a ranch close to where George had been hiking, offered to join the rescue operation in order to save the local authorites money.

George, who was 20 at the time of the incident, didn't recognise her rescuer at first: "He was wearing a T-shirt and a cowboy hat," she told news reporters. "He didn't look like I'd ever seen him before."

After finding out who her the man in the hat was, however, she felt a little embarrassed: after being rescued, she'd been sick into a hat while travelling in Ford's helicopter.

"I can't believe I barfed in Harrison Ford's helicopter," she later told ABC news.

5 2000: Emergency landing - In 2000, Ford was flying a Beechcraft Bonanza plane in Nebraska, and found himself forced to make an emergency landing at the Lincoln Municipal Airport in Nebraska, after a gust of wind sent him off course from the runway. There were no injuries.

6 2001: Rescues lost Boy Scout - Cody Clawson, who is now 28, was just 13 years old when he went missing in a forest in Yellowstone Park. The Boy Scout, who had been camping in the woods, became separated from his companions, and found himself lost after wandering off a marked forest trail.

He spent 19 hours in the wilderness, sheltering overnight in a cave, before hearing rescue planes and spotting a passing helicopter the next day. With impressive resourcefulness, he signalled to the air craft by flashing a metal belt buckle.

"This guy came down and was shouting my name," Clawson, who now has a son of his own, later recalled, in an interview with the Daily Mail. "I was so relieved. He said, "We're here to get you, but you'll never guess who's flying the helicopter?

"In my mind I was like, "I really don't care", I just wanted to get out of there. But he said it was Harrison Ford and I didn't believe him."

Meeting Ford himself, Clawson said, made him feel as if he was dreaming.

"The pilot turned round and said, 'Good morning'. The way he said it reminded me so much of his role of Hans Solo in Star Wars. Then I was like, 'Oh my God, Han Solo has just rescued me, how cool is that'. 'I thought I was delirious at first but then realised I wasn't dreaming."

7 2014: Almost crushed by hydraulic door on the set of Star Wars - The Force Awakens: In 2016, when the Disney-owned company responsible for making the door were taken to court, investigators said that Ford, who was left with a broken leg, lacerated hand and dislocated ankle after the on-set incident, could easily have been killed.

According to experts who testified at the trial, the door, which was part of the Millennium Falcon set, acted like a "blunt guillotine", and was just "millimeters from [Ford's] face" during the incident.

The accident took place because Ford believed that the automatic door was not "live" at the time, and assumed that he would be able to walk through the partition. The judge later blamed the door company for this fact, stating that they did not properly communicate with cast-members.

Foodles, the company in question, pleaded guilty to the charges, and were later fined 1.6 million.

During an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show, Ford later made it clear that he was not a big fan of the new technology: the doors on the original 1977 prop might not have been so high-tech, but at least they weren't dangerous.

"Now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a f------ great hydraulic door which closed at light speed and somebody said, 'Ooh I wonder what this is?'" he told the TV talkshow's host.

"And the door came down and hit me on my left hip because I was turned to my right. And then it flung my left leg up and it dislocated my ankle and as it drove me down to the floor, my legs slapped on the ramp up to the Millennium Falcon and broke both bones in my left leg."

8 2015: Vintage plane crash on Los Angeles golf course - Prior to the latest incident, Ford's most recent plane crash was in 2015, and took place in Santa Monica, California. The experienced pilot, who was at the controls of a two-seater vintage Second World War aircraft, was forced to crash land the plane on a golf course after the engine stopped working when he was mid-flight, 3000 feet in the air.

The actor, who suffered a broken pelvis and head injuries after the crash, was later praised for his decision to land the malfunctioning plane as swiftly and safely as possible, guiding it away from residential areas.

"Looking at where he crashed and how the plane went down, I'm sure there was a moment where he said, 'I'm not going to risk lives, whatever happens, happens. It's going to be just me'," a witness, golfer Eddie Aguglia, told NBC at the time.

"He risked life and limb by putting it down on the golf course instead of trying to go further to try to get back to the airport. Another 25 to 30 yards and ... I don't want to think about it. He saved several lives."

Asked about "his crash", the actor later told GQ Magazine: "I didn't crash. The f------ plane crashed. It was pretty simple."

 Ford: 'I've got a bad feeling about this'

Harrison Ford arrives at the European premiere of Star Wars, The Force Awakens in Leicester Square, London. Paul Hackett / Reuters

Ford: 'I've got a bad feeling about this'

Harrison Ford's damaged airplane is taken away after its crash landing at Penmar Golf Course in Venice, Los Angeles, California. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

(China Daily 03/04/2017 page22)

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