Talk about timing. Doctor Sanjay Khurana was playing on the seventh hole of the Penmar Golf Course on Thursday, March 5, when Harrison Ford‘s plane crashed right before his eyes.
Khurana, a spine surgeon, gave his account of the events to both CBS Los Angeles and ABC News following the incident, recalling how he instinctively dropped his clubs and ran to the plane to check if the pilot was okay.
“He was stunned a bit,” Khurana told ABC News. “He was moaning and in pain.”
The medical professional added to the local CBS affiliate that Ford was “slumped over in distress belted in,” and the odor of fuel was pervasive when he and other golfers noticed it seeping out from the plane.
“I motioned to some of the other folks at the golf course to put dirt on the fuel so it wouldn’t combust,” he told CBS. “I just wanted to get him out safely so that the situation wouldn’t erupt into a fire.”
Once the group pulled the man from the aircraft, Khurana realized who he was. “It was obvious by his face, it was Harrison Ford,” he told ABC News. “I’m old enough, or young enough, to have watched all his Star Wars films. So, it was obvious.”
The golfers then stabilized Ford’s spine and neck on the course, and Khurana made sure the actor’s blood pressure and airway were in good condition. Ford, 72, was then transported to a nearby hospital.
Harrison’s rep later released a statement to Us Weekly regarding the actor’s accident.
“Harrison was flying a WW2 vintage plane today which had engine trouble upon take off,” the statement read. “He had no other choice but to make an emergency landing, which he did safely. He was banged up and is in the hospital receiving medical care. The injuries sustained are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”
According to National Transportation Safety Board investigator Patrick Jones, Ford described trouble in his engine moments after departing from the Santa Monica Municipal Airport. Jones told ABC News that the actor’s plane clipped a tree before crashing.
The hero of the hour, Khurana, told the outlet that he was stunned by the events that had transpired that day. “You don’t go golfing expecting to see an airplane crash and to help extract someone and realize it’s someone you know from the movies, right?” he said. “But as a surgeon, I’ve been practicing for almost over a decade now, you deal with urgent situations.”
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