Star Wars actor Harrison Ford was airlifted to hospital today after he was crushed on the set of the new movie.
The 71-year-old Hollywood star was at Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire when a hydraulic door fell down and hit him as he began work on Star Wars: Episode VII.
A source on set said Ford, known around the world as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy, collided with the metal door while he was performing a stunt for the sci-fi film.
The actor, who also played Indiana Jones, fell to the ground in agony and after medics assessed him on the M Stage at the studios close to spaceship the Millennium Falcon, he was taken by stretcher onto a helicopter for further treatment.
Reports claim Ford was injured by the door of the Millennium Falcon, the spaceship that his character flies in the original films
The source added: “Harrison was hit by the door and looked in a bad way and was clutching his chest when he was on the stretcher.
“He is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and no chances were being taken so he got straight into a helicopter and was taken away in a lot of pain. His foot was damaged too.
“The cast and crew were sent home for the day, even though it was 5pm and the beginning of a night shoot. Harrison’s injury and what happened is going to mean changes to the schedule and problems and issues that need to be solved.
“But the main thing at the moment is making sure Harrison is OK.”
The actor was taken by air ambulance to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford with a suspected fracture in his ankle. It is understood he has no major chest injuries but is awaiting results of further tests.
The NHS hospital has a trauma unit that specializes in fracture clinics with dedicated and purpose-designed buildings.
The building also provides facilities for radiological investigation and therapy treatment for all trauma patients.
Tonight it was unclear how long he will be unable to film for, but his filming schedule will be ripped up and there will be concerns from some fans this could delay the movie.
All doors and other parts on the set of Stars Wars will also be re-checked for safety.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: “We were called to Pinewood studios at 5.05pm after reports of a 71-year-old man being injured by a garage door.”
The Health And Safety Executive has launched an investigation into the incident.
An HSE spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an incident at Pinewood studios and are making initial enquiries.”
Ford could be entitled to claim money on the film’s insurance if the door was found to be at fault.
A spokesman for the film said: “Harrison Ford sustained an ankle injury during filming today on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII.
“He was taken to a local hospital and is receiving care. Shooting will continue as planned while he recuperates.”
The spokesman also insisted he did not have an injury to his chest.
Star Wars: Episode VII began filming in mid-May when Director JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot tweeted a picture of the Episode VII clapper board with the message “#dayone” from Abu Dhabi.
The film will be the first Star Wars title released by Disney, after creator George Lucas sold the rights to the franchise in 2012.
It will also see the return of the three principal characters from the original trilogy – Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford).
Ford has been lined up for more stunts with talks of a Fifth Indiana Jones movie, although critics say he is now too old for the character.
But the action movie star said he would play Indiana Jones once again “in a New York minute”.
He told Graham Norton last year: “I don’t think there is any barrier to Indiana Jones being an old fart,” he said. “I’m old enough that we don’t need [Sean] Connery anymore – I’m old enough to play my own father.”
Ford career began in a school play and then in local theatre productions before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s.
He returned to the trade in 1973 in George Lucas’s American Graffiti and then, in 1977, made his breakthrough as space pilot Han Solo in Lucas’s Star Wars and the subsequent sequels Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Ford established himself as a leading international romantic star as the swashbuckling archaeologist Indiana Jones in Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and later Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
He starred in Ridley Scott’s memorable Blade Runner in 1982 and three years later won a best actor Oscar nomination for his role as a police detective in Witness.
Speaking to the Mirror in 2013, he said: “I think retirement’s for old people.
“I’m still in the business, thank you. I have a young child and I want to live as long as I can to see him grow up.
“I have three young grandchildren, I’m enjoying my life and I want to stick around for as long as I can.”
Accidents on film set remains an occupational hazard, even for Hollywood’s leading lights.
Tragedy struck in 1993 when Brandon Lee died aged 28 after a stunt gun meant to fire blanks was improperly loaded with a bullet still in the chamber as he filmed The Crow.
Brad Pitt fittingly suffered an injury to his achilles tendon while playing Greek warrior Achilles during the filming of 2004 epic Troy.
Mystery still surrounds the death of acrobatic pilot Art Scholl, who died aged 53 while filming Top Gun.
Scholl was unable to recover from a problem during filming in 1985 and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, off the Southern Californian coast.
Neither the pilot or his aircraft have been recovered.
Stunt double David Holmes, standing in for Daniel Radcliffe, was paralysed during filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Warner Bros in 2009.
Daniel was practising flying scenes at the studios near Watford, Herts, when he was hurled into a wall before crashing to the ground.