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Harrison Ford Crashes Plane, Condition Unclear; Delta Flight Skids Off Runway Nearly Into River

Aired March 5, 2015 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, we're following major breaking news. Multiple reports tonight that Actor Harrison Ford has crashed a plane he was piloting onto a Los Angeles golf course. We have the very latest on this breaking story for you.

And a major scare at New York's La Guardia Airport. A Delta Flight with 132 onboard skids off the runway feet from icy waters.

And just into CNN, dramatic new images of the Boston Marathon bombing as survivors confront the bomber in emotional testimony. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And the breaking news tonight. There are multiple reports this evening that actor Harrison Ford has crashed his plane at a Los Angeles golf course. NBC News and TMZ are reporting the actor was seriously injured. He was flying a vintage yellow two-seater plane. And it crashed into this golf course in Venice, California. Our understanding, it was a vintage World War II plane. He was an experienced pilot. Howard Teba who was an employee at the Penmar golf course tells NBC that there was blood all over the actor's face. At this time, from what we understand from these reports it appears Harrison Ford was flying solo. Right now he's been taken to a local hospital. We're standing by for a possible press conference for the very latest on this.

As we await that, Kyung Lah is on her way to the crash site. And Kyung, what can you tell us?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we can tell you is we have spoken to the FAA to a number of agency here in Los Angeles, responding to what was a single engine plane crash on the golf course. This golf course is very close to the Santa Monica airport. The Fire Department is telling us that there was one person aboard, an adult male, approximately 65 to 70 years old. That he was taken to a local hospital. How is he doing? The LAPD says he's in stable condition. What we can tell you about this airport Erin is that this is where the rich and famous have long flown out of. A place of history dating back to the '30s.

But currently there are actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford. They all have planes there. They are experienced pilots and they fly out of this very private airport. But this has been a very troubled airport. There's been a number of small plane crashes and so there has been a lot of controversy between the residents who live basically with airport right in their backyard and the airport itself. They don't want the airport there. They say that it's simply too dangerous. You can tell by looking at the aerial how close, I hope you can see the context of how close the golf course is to the airport. The houses, the airport, the golf course, all very close together. We are all trying to get more information about the condition of the pilot. And one last thing, Erin, Harrison Ford has had a crash, an aviation accident before. The NTSB did investigate a 1999 crash in Santa Clarita, California. And he was the pilot trainee of board. He was practicing something called an auto rotation and he had a hard landing. So, he is someone who has had experience flying for a very long time. We don't know though what has happened with this particular plane crash -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much. Kyung, as we said going to be on the scene momentarily. We'll going to go to her live again as she gets there. We're awaiting more words. As we said, a possible press conference with more details here on this accident.

Now I want to bring in our aviation analyst Miles O'Brien along with Charles Latibeaudiere, an executive producer with TMZ. And Charles, let me start with you. You were the one who broke this news. What are you learning?

CHARLES LATIBEAUDIERE, TMZ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (on the phone): Just what you guys were saying. Harrison Ford had taken off from Santa Monica airport, and you're right that neighborhood, and I actually used to live in that neighborhood, a lot of people don't like the fact that these small planes are flying so closely over the neighborhood. And this golf course, in particular, is so close to the airport that they have planes flying over it at very low altitude all the time. It's a constant complaint. What we're told by witnesses on the ground is that Harrison Ford had just taken off from Santa Monica Airport. He had some kind of mechanical problem. We don't know exactly what it is at this point and requested to return to the airport. He was given approval.

He was turning around to go back to the airport to land and clearly decided he was not going to make it to the runway and decided to ditch on this golf course and crash landed there and was thankfully able to survive the crash but people on the ground say that he was severely injured. Now, you know, sometimes when you get cuts on your face there's a lot of blood. And we're told that he was blooding profusely around, on his face. Now, I don't know if that's, you know, an indication of how serious the injury is or if it was that just that, you know, where he was cut and happened to be bleeding a lot. He has been taken to the hospital. We're told that he is in serious condition. But we don't know anything more than that at this point. We're awaiting the same news conference as you are.

BURNETT: All right. We are awaiting. It's interesting as you're saying though that he had asked for clearance to land and, you know, didn't get it, he was trying in some sort of control landing maybe that's why he aimed for this golf course. Again, we're waiting for this official press conference any moment that may possibly be happening. Miles we have some new pictures. These are pictures of Harrison Ford flying this exact plane. These obviously are not today for our viewers but these are pictures we have of Harrison Ford piloting the exact plane in which he crashed today. Reportedly on this golf course in California, single engine plane, vintage World War II. Miles, what do you know about this plane?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's a Ryan PT-22. They were first built in 1941, World War II vintage trainer. There are few of them still going obviously. There's one hanging from the rafters at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington. And Harrison Ford is true and true an avid pilot. He likes to fly anything he can get his hands on. He owns several fixed wing and rotor aircraft. And Santa Monica Airport is his home-based. That golf course had landed my plane in Santa Monica, part of the noise, there have been procedures, they encourage you to fly over that golf course because the neighbors don't like that airport very much. And so, it's not surprising that he ended up there.

BURNETT: Miles, all right, I'm sorry to interrupt you. Please stand by. We want to go now to this live press conference on what happened to Harrison Ford. Let's listen in.

PATRICK BUTLER, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: In fair to moderate condition. At this point that is the extent of our initial report here. Like we say, we're bound by privacy laws to never discuss the name, identity or any information that would reveal a patient's identity. That's just protocol that we have in Los Angeles. What I'd like to do next is I'll turn it over to the Chief Grimala from the LAPD and then at some point we'll be able to take some questions as you know you've all gathered here today. Chief Grimala.

BEATRICE GRIMALA, OPERATIONS-WEST BUREAU COMMANDING OFFICER: Thank you so much. Good afternoon, everyone. The Los Angeles Police Department's role here at scene --

BURNETT: Obviously, it looks like we just lost that transmission. As soon as we get it, we'll going to go right back to it. Let me just ask you Miles though, from what you understand, he wasn't -- we have it back? Okay. Sorry, let's go back and listen to the press conference.

GRIMALA: Santa Monica Police Department, resources out here as well. Since we are bordering the city of Santa Monica and resources from the Santa Monica Airport as well. So, right now we are in a maintenance mode, and we will remain this way for as long as it takes for the investigation not to it all be compromised. We're here also to assist in locating potential witnesses to the accident and to assist our federal partners as well. What we would like to ask the general public at this time is to avoid the area of dewy between 21st and 23rd just so we can get existing resource us in and out of the area and to assist with any additional resources that may or will be responding to the area. So, if we can get that word out that would help a lot from the public safety point of view because there's going to be traffic jams. And we don't want pedestrians and others to be compromised in the roadway. Thank you.


GRIMALA: Yes. Beatrice Grimala. I'm the Operations-West Bureau commanding officer.

BUTLER: In terms of video footage, we have not received any. But obviously the investigation team will be looking for everything we can get. As you know, federal agencies will be involved with this investigation. This time the Los Angeles Police Department will hold the crime scene. As what we called for this point. Because just the fact that it's an area of impact for the public. So, it will be under investigation for a while. Just for your own knowledge, we plan to be here for significant duration. Any type of incident requires this type of response, it's normal for us to probably spend a day and a half at an event like this. So, just know from your perspective that we'll be holding the scene here for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What was the condition of Harrison Ford when he was taking off on landing?


BUTLER: I'll let Chief Grimala speak to any of the details regarding the plane.

GRIMALA: An update, we have for you the FAA is at scene. They are coordinating and in communication with the NTSB. We're here to lone whatever logistical support to the federal agencies at scene in any way that the department can be helpful.


GRIMALA: I'm not an aviation expert. I do not have a representative at this time from the Santa Monica Airport. We hope to have that at some point in time for you. So, I don't have an answer for you for that particular question. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Eyewitnesses say that the engine falter that they could hear the engine stop and then crashed --

GRIMALA: I can't confirm that. I have not talked to the witnesses at this point in time. So, I'm sorry, I have no information as to why this plane ended up where it is right now. And at this point it would be very preliminary for me to even make any conjecture on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What was the injuries that the --

BUTLER: The injuries to the 70-year-old male occupant, he suffered basically some moderate trauma and he was alert and conscious. And paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department transported the patient to local area hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, often considered, I mean, you guys -- you rescue people who are in these traumatic crashes, is it amazing that he was able to essentially, you know, not walk away, but survive this?

BUTLER: Yes. I will tell you. Just my personal experience, 25 years in the department, I've been on several plane crashes, single engine, small personal aircraft, and normally the outcomes are fatality, so yes. We are very thankful that the passenger, from what we appear right now, had moderate injuries but also it was an area that was populated by local bystanders and an area that didn't impact any homes. So, yes to answer your question, these generally turn out quite traumatic. But I can report that the patient left the scene conscious and breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can you confirm that the pilot (INAUDIBLE)

BUTLER: I've heard that there were several folks that rendered aid. As to their occupation, I am not sure. But I do know that there was folks that came out here and rendered aid and assisted the pilot out of the area.


BUTLER: You know, I did not arrive on scene until later. And I can talk to the paramedics but from what I understand they were helping with the patient.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The plane landed in a very lucky area (INAUDIBLE).

BUTLER: In terms of where the plane landed, I would say it's an area that probably presented the least amount of impact in the community. I don't know if that was planned or it that just happened to be in an area that had the flight path. But other than that I can't tell you what the extent was. I do know that appears to have hit a tree behind us and took off several large branches. So, there's some small debris field that we're dealing with.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just one person was on the plane?

BUTLER: One person was confirmed on the plane. That's it. I'm not sure what the configuration on the plane is.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are there any concerns about this airport? There's been a lot of back and forth about closing it and safety issues. Is there anything that came up in this crash that could cause concern, take-off and landing?

BUTLER: For the Fire Department, we normally don't concern ourselves with impacts of what local airports do. Our main goal is to ensure public safety. So, I can't speak to any discussion about the airport or anything regarding that aspect. And actually, I don't know anything about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Any idea how of like long he would have been in the air before the crashed?

BUTLER: Just from looking at the impact I cannot get into those details. It would really be irresponsible for me to kind of start talking about what or how the pilot maneuvered it. I'm not a pilot or an aviator, and it's really tough for me. So, I'd be happy to answer other questions about our response.


BUTLER: I do not know that. It does have tail number on it. But I don't know the type of aircraft it is and it's something that probably can be readily accessed.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All the questions about the aircraft and anything involved in the flight will be the next briefing which would be the FAA and the NTSB. Currently the Fire Department and the Police Department, this is all what we're going to have to stay on this right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can you just give us a general overview --


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Can you describe what the bystanders --

BUTLER: Sure. I'll just give an overview once again. I just got here myself and Chief Grimala and the councilman from the 11th district. Patrick Butler. And I'm here with the staff from the local police command and the local council office. At about 2:20 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department Paramedics received --

BURNETT: Okay. Obviously just heard that press conference is coming to an end. We did learn quite a bit there of new information even though there's still a lot of questions. Harrison Ford's condition for example still unknown. Although, they did say when he crashed, when the paramedics arrived, when he went to the hospital he was conscious and alert. The fire chief as you saw speaking there. He's responded to these sort of crashes before. Usually they end in fatalities. He said that Harrison Ford suffered moderate trauma as his plane landed on that golf course and hit a tree that there was a small debris field. So, all this happened before 5:30 Eastern Time just before 2:30 in Los Angeles. That's the latest that we know right now.

I've got Miles O'Brien a pilot aviation expert with me. I have got Brian Stelter with me, also I have Deborah Hersman with me, the former chairman of the NTSB.

All right. Miles, let me just ask you, in that press conference, we got a bit more detail. What did you learn?

O'BRIEN: Well, let me try to shed a little bit of light. They were asking whether he was departing and all that kind of stuff.


O'BRIEN: Basically, here is how it works at Santa Monica airport. I've flown in and out of there several times. Almost every day of the year you take off to the west. It's one east and west runway. Twenty one and three, 21 is the runway he would have used today. When you take off because of the neighbors not liking that airport so much, one of the things they tell you to do is to sidestep over to the left a little bit and fly over the golf course. And so, he was flying over that golf course which is on the departure end of the runway. But if you look, you can't see it now because it's zoomed in too closely. But the airplane is pointed back toward the runway. So, something happened while he was over that golf course, that caused him to turn back around to the field. It sounds like he had some sort of engine failure. Turned around and he was trying to make it back to the field. The fact that he had to sidestep and fly over that golf course was probably helpful to him because that's a good place to put down an aircraft when you've lost an engine. Because as you well know, around Santa Monica and Venice, anywhere else besides that narrow strip, and it's a very small golf course, it's not a big one at all. Any place beyond that would have caused all kinds of other problems on the ground.

BURNETT: Uh-mm. You've got fatalities and hitting people. And of course, we understand that from what we've just heard there at the press conference, they're not sure if this was a planned landing or if it was a pure crash at this point. Deborah, let me go to you. We just heard the FAA and NTSB are on the scene. When you hear that press conference, when you see the images we have, what's your impression? What do you think happened?

DEBORAH HERSMAN, FORMER NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: You know, I will say that it brings to light two things. One, people look at commercial aviation and they get very concerned, but in fact, we only had about eight fatalities last year involving commercial aircraft. But we've got hundreds of fatalities involving general aviation aircraft every year. And so, this is where the real risks are in aviation are these small planes like the one Harrison Ford was flying. The second thing that I think it really brings home is not just in La Guardia but here on this golf course in Santa Monica we have seen the survivability of airplane crashes. And so, people who think that if you're involved in an airplane crash that the outcome will going to be fatal, we know that's not the case. The majority of crashes are survivable. And that's why it's so important to have appropriate restraints, and particularly in the case of small aircraft like Harrison Ford to not just have a lap belt but also have a shoulder belt, shoulder harness as well.

BURNETT: All right. Deborah, thank you very much. Miles, Brien are going to stay with us as we continue our coverage of this breaking news event. Harrison Ford's small plane crashing in Santa Monica, California right nearby on this golf course.

Our Kyung Lah is on the scene. We're going to be going to her. We understand he is currently suffering moderate trauma. He's in the hospital. Star Wars and Indiana Jones actor. We'll going to have more on this breaking news as our ongoing coverage continues.

A Delta flight also today sliding down an icy New York runway. One hundred thirty two people were on board. That plane skidded to a stop on ice feet from utter disaster. We are lying on the scene there.

And despite a scathing report, charging his department with racism and abuse of tactics toward blacks, Ferguson's Police Chief Thomas Jackson is still on the job. Where was he today? We found him. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. Multiple reports that Actor Harrison Ford crashed his plane on a golf course in Los Angeles. We can confirm that as we just had a press conference from local officials confirming that the actor is in the hospital suffering from moderate trauma after the crash. He was alert though and conscious when he left the scene. NBC News and variety are reporting that Ford was piloting a vintage two-seater plane when he lost control and landed. A Ryan PT-22 according to our experts. Penmar golf course employee Howard Teba told NBC that there was blood all over the actor's face.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT from the scene. Kyung, what are you hearing about Ford's condition. It sounds like it could have been incredibly gruesome at the scene. It's miraculous he seems to have survived. But obviously in the hospital right now.

LAH (on the phone): And certainly benefitted from having bystanders nearby. This is a pretty dense area as far as population. He was apparently rescued by bystanders. According to a news conference that was just held by the local authorities. The plane hit a tree as it was coming down in the golf course. His condition is reported to be fair to moderate. That he has moderate trauma. But here's the important part, he's alert, he's conscious. He has been taken to a local hospital. His injuries, they're certainly seem very concern about it but they don't -- at this point still they're waiting to sort of assess how he's doing. From everything that we're hearing, from the news conference so far, he was the solo occupant aboard the plane. And that, you know, people here say that at least one employee said that he had blood on his face. But that appears so far at least visually from that one report appears to be his only major visible injury.

One thing I can tell you about this community, this is a small airport. It is basically in the backyard of a very dense community. It's a beach community. A lot of small houses. I myself have covered at least three different single plane accidents. One that was a small plane that crashed into a house. So, there's been a number of complaints between the people here in this community. People on the golf course even say that the planes fly too close. A lot of concerns about the safety of this airport but this is Erin, certainly known as a popular airport especially among the rich and famous, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise also Steven Seagal (ph) reportedly having airplanes here. All aviation enthusiasts who fly out of Santa Monica Airport -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. As you said, Tom Cruise, Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, rich and famous using this airport.

Miles O'Brien is still with me. Our media correspondent Brian Stelter, CNN media correspondent is with me. Also in the phone now Robert Goyer, Flying Magazine editor-in-chief. He's interviewed Harrison Ford about his love of flying. And Robert, this was something, it appears he was incredibly dedicated to. He's been flying since the 1960s. Fixed wing aircraft. He has been flying helicopters. I mean, how experienced of a pilot was Harrison Ford?

ROBERT GOYER, FLYING MAGAZINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF (on the phone): He is a tremendously experienced pilot. And as you've said, he's a passionate pilot too. I spend time just talking with Harrison, you know, just shooting the breeze about airplanes. And he loves to talk about them. He's absolutely passionate about -- he's passionate about aviation, about airplane as he was about acting. He's pretty passionate about that.

BURNETT: Which is pretty incredible. And he is passionate about that. This is the actor Brian of Star Wars, Indiana Jones about right now start some very significant project.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, one of the greatest actors of all time. And so many people at home relieved to hear that he was able to walk away. Even though he sound like in moderate injury, blood all over his face it sounds like. He was shooting the new Star Wars last summer and he was going to be shooting and will be shooting and expected to be shooting the blade runner sequel next summer. That was just announced last week. So, the 70-year-old actor still a star, still a -- to movie theaters. And you know, we're talking about his experience piloting. He actually was involved in a crash of a helicopter back in 1999.


STELTER: He was working with an instructor at the time and made a hard landing out in California near Santa Clarita. They were able to walk away, there were no injuries at that time. Then more recently he got very good positive press for helping save two people who were stranded in Yellowstone National Park. He happened to fly out there as well in Wyoming. A man who makes headlines worthy of a movie star.

BURNETT: That's pretty incredible you could do that. Now when you, Brian mentioned his age, Miles, you know, he's 72. He'll be 73- year-old this summer. He is an experienced pilot. This is a traumatic event for anyone. Never mind someone who is 72, 73-years- old. Are you surprised that he was able, I mean, again we don't know his full condition, but he was alert and conscious when they took him to the hospital?

O'BRIEN: Well, I've spent some time with Harrison Ford as well. Both of us sharing our love of flying together.


O'BRIEN: And he certainly doesn't seem that old to me. So, he seems younger every day as a matter of fact as I get older. So, he's in great shape. He keeps himself fit. He's a pilot. He's a great stick. He's a student of aviation. He's a lover of old planes. I think, you know, he would have been in a position, I'm sure he had all the proper restraints and everything else. One thing to point out when you fly this particular aircraft, a PT-22, and you're flying it alone, you fly from the rear cockpit. And that might have helped in this case. You look at the craft of the aircraft right now.

BURNETT: Interesting. Yes.

O'BRIEN: That was probably a good thing that it was designed that way that he was sitting in the backseat as it were which is the appropriate procedure when you're flying it alone.

BURNETT: That is a really an interesting point because as everyone may remember, for the press conference we took earlier this hour, they were saying the plane did hit a tree. So, as you can see from those earlier pictures flying in that backseat, perhaps that was something that might have made the difference here between life and death as he's right now in the hospital with this moderate trauma. All right. Thanks very much to all of you. As we get more information, we'll going to continue covering this.

Our other breaking story tonight though, also involving a plane. New York's La Guardia Airport trying to reopen its runways. Shortly expected to do so because a Delta Airlines flight skidded off the runway on landing. Flight 1086 from Atlanta. After that plane touched down, it started to land and break and then wasn't able to. Veered into a snow covered embankment, crashed through a fence and literally almost completely went into the water. New York snowy weather was part of a massive late winter storm that stretches 2,000 miles from New Mexico to New England. Ninety four million people have been affected, this though obviously a particular terrifying incident all the way down in Kentucky. One remote highway. Hundreds of drivers stranded overnight.

I want to get straight to Will Ripley who has the story here at La Guardia Airport of this incredible instant though that could have ended in so much death but it's left with all the survivors tonight. Hundreds of drivers stranded overnight.

I want to get straight to Will Ripley who has the story here at LaGuardia Airport of this incredible instant, though, that could have ended in so much death, but is left with all the survivors tonight.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a terrifying image for everyone who flies, a Delta passenger jet skidding off a slick and snowy runway at one of America's busiest airports.

The flight from Atlanta was coming in for a landing at LaGuardia, and then lost control, ending up just feet from the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as we landed, we felt the wheels hit the runway and did not feel the wheels take traction. We started to skid. And we skid to the left side of the runway and we continued to skid. We literally were a couple feet away from heading into the water.

RIPLEY: Air traffic controllers told the Delta flight before landing braking conditions were good.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Delta 1086, LaGuardia tower, braking action good by an Airbus and a regional jet. RIPLEY: One hundred twenty-seven passengers aboard the MD-88

were evacuated from the plane using emergency exits on the wings. Port Authority officials say the emergency chutes did not deploy. Twenty-four people were injured, three taken to the hospital.

One of the passengers, New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell who shot this video.

Port airport officials dealt with the fuel leak from the plane. The airport remains partially closed, with flight cancellations continuing for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's leaking fuel on the left side of his aircraft heavily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said leaking fuel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Affirm. His wing is ruptured.

RIPLEY: Moments after the plane lost control, tense communications from air traffic control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an aircraft off the runway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The airport is closed. The airport is closed. We got a 3-4.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Car (ph) 100. Say again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an aircraft off 3-1 on the north. Please advise. LaGuardia is closed at this time.


RIPLEY: Tonight, that plane is still sitting on the runway. Its nose dangling over icy water, passengers' belongings still in the aircraft. And the NTSB on the scene right now investigating.

It's not clear when this airport will fully reopen. It could be still many more hours, Erin. Right now, they are limping along using one runway. There had been a number of flight cancellations. Thousands of travelers still stranded here tonight waiting to see if they'll get off the ground, but, of course, wanting to be safe and not have a repeat of what happened earlier, Erin.

BURNETT: A terrifying moment.

All right. Thank you very much, Will Ripley. And it was a terrifying moment for the passengers on board. Two of them brothers, Ismael and Jihad Lateef.

And both of you, thank you very much for being with us.

You're from South Carolina. You get on plane to come to New York. Your plane crashes. You're terrified of dying. This is not what you could have imagined. What did it feel like, Jihad, when the plane landed?

JIHAD LATEEF, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 1086: When the plane landed, when I was younger my brother used to make me sleep on the top bunk. When the plane landed it was like me falling off of the top bunk. Didn't really know what was going on. I just felt a hit. Boom and then --

BURNETT: So, it was hard landing?

JIHAD LATEEF: Very hard landing.

BURNETT: I mean, it's not like the plane came down and started landing and something went wrong. You knew right away at landing something happened?

JIHAD LATEEF: Yes, right before we landed I could see were over the water. The plane kind of sped up so it's like I got to make the edge. The plane was right over the water. Then I made it and then, boom, I made it. And then --

BURNETT: And so, Ishmael, when did you know, after it landed, how fast did it happen? Where all of a sudden you're landing, you're going down the runway, and the plane starts to asked and veer?

ISHMAEL LATEEF, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 1086: If you would ask me how fast did it move, I think I wouldn't be able to tell. It was like a blink of an eye. It felt like I was on jet ski. I've only been on one one time. Promise you, after this crash, I don't want to do it again. It's a moment that we both will always remember.

BURNETT: Did you realize how close you were to the water? That it hit that divider and you were almost in the water?

ISHMAEL LATEEF: I did. I was sitting right on the left wing.

BURNETT: So, you could see it?

ISHMAEL LATEEF: I could see it. I saw the wing hit the fence and everything.

BURNETT: Did you think you were going to have to swim? Did you think you might die? What did you think at that moment, Jihad?

JIHAD LATEEF: I just prayed. Everything was up in the air. Everything was up in the air. So, we were just like --

ISHMAEL LATEEF: Swimming trunks.

JIHAD LATEEF: Swimming trunks out.

BURNETT: You got your swimming trunks.

JIHAD LATEEF: I better, because --

BURNETT: That's what you would say. I don't think you have time for that.

JIHAD LATEEF: Yes, because I like to swim three feet (ph).

BURNETT: Were the flight attendants, did you see anything on their faces that made you realize something was wrong? What did they do?

JIHAD LATEEF: The flight attendants made some worrying start. They were saying keep calm but I seen chins start to chatter. They're looking up like this. I'm like, what's going on?

BURNETT: They were afraid?

JIHAD LATEEF: You could feel it, yes.

BURNETT: You're scheduled, Ishmael, to fly back home on Monday.


BURNETT: Are you going to do it? Are you scared?

ISHMAEL LATEEF: If I wanted to be on national TV and be macho, I would say no. But absolutely, I think that if you're not nervous, you're not ready. We have no choice. I guess we have work to do on Monday. That's exactly what we're going to do. So, Monday, here we come.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your coming on. Thank you so much.

JIHAD LATEEF: Appreciate you.


BURNETT: All right. Thanks, guys.

And OUTFRONT next, much more of our breaking news. Harrison Ford crashing plane on a golf course in Los Angeles.

Plus, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson given the Justice Department's report of rampant racism in his department, can he be forced to step down?

And just in to CNN, dramatic new images from the Boston marathon bombing. What was Tsarnaev's reaction today when he saw them. We know and we have a special report.


BURNETT: Tonight, Ferguson's police chief refusing to comment on the Justice Department's scathing report on rampant racism within his force and a tech message to the associated press. Chief Thomas Jackson only saying he's still reviewing the 102-page report now more than 30 hours after it was released. Jackson has not spoken publicly in recent weeks.

And Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT in Ferguson.


THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF: I'm sorry. And I said it from heart. You don't have the --


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police Chief Jackson has fought for months to keep his jobs despite protests in Ferguson. Even after scathing Justice Department detail racial bias in his department, Chief Jackson still holds the top badge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This happened on his watch.

LAVANDERA: This includes racist e-mails sent within his department that ridiculed black mothers and compared President Obama to a chimpanzee, and a pattern of targeting and using excessive force on black residents.

The calls for the chief's resignation are growing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a fresh start. The citizens of this community, vast majority has been calling for some accountability. And when we look at who's accountable, we have to start at the top.

LAVANDERA: Chief Jackson has refused our repeated request for an interview about the DOJ report. But in November, he told OUTFRONT he would not resign.

BURNETT: Do you think being part of the solution means staying in your job as the police chief?

JACKSON: Yes, I intend to see this thing through. I've been working with a lot of community members to work on some progressive changes that will bring the community together.

LAVANDERA: But the Justice Department report paints Chief Jackson as one of the driving forces behind the city's policing for profits culture. The report says officers competed to see who would write the most tickets. It concludes police officers promotions depended on citation revenue.

The report says when a police commander tried to reprimand an officer for writing too many tickets, Chief Jackson told the commander, "No discipline for doing your job."

(on camera): Then there's the story of a police commander who one day bragged to his superiors about seeing a steady stream of people, 10 to 15 deep, waiting in line for hours to pay traffic fines. He wrote, "The court clerk girl had been swamped", and the city manager responded, "Great work."

(voice-over): Chief Jackson kept close tabs on the money. The chief celebrated raising $179 million in citation revenue, writing, "We beat our next biggest month in the last four years by over $17,000." The city manager responded, "Wonderful."

In another email, Jackson wrote his police force had passed the $2 million mark for the first time in history. The city manager who has also refused our request for an interview wrote, "Awesome. Thanks."

Thomas Harvey is the founder of Archcity Defenders, a legal group that helps low income residents fight police citations.

THOMAS HARVEY, ARCHCITY DEFENDERS: Ferguson's been operating combined effort of city officials, police and courts designed at raising revenue by exploiting the most vulnerable among us. So, they are essentially admitting the courts are not about public safety, they're about the generation of revenue.


LAVANDERA: So, Erin, the question remains tonight: will Chief Jackson continue to fight for his job? We tried reaching out to hitch today to see if he would continue to fight for that. We've also reached out to the mayor and city manager, repeatedly trying to ask them what Chief Jackson's future will hold. No response from any of the top officials here in Ferguson -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you very much. Live in Ferguson for us tonight.

And next, our top story, the breaking news on actor Harrison Ford crashing his plane in a Los Angeles golf course. Our Kyung Lah has gotten on the scene. We're going to go live there with the latest in just a moment.


BURNETT: Welcome back.

More on our top story tonight, the breaking news, legendary actor Harrison Ford has crashed his plane at a golf course in Los Angeles. There's been multiple reports of this. Authorities have spoken about it.

They say that the pilot, who we believe was Harrison Ford suffered moderate trauma, was alert and conscious when he went to a hospital. They say this normally ends in fatality. So, in a sense a miracle.

As you can see, it's a two-seater plane. Perhaps it's been piloted by someone alone, which was in this case. We understand he would have been flying in the backseat, which could perhaps have played a role in the fact that he seems to have only had moderate trauma.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT. She is live on the scene for us now.

And, Kyung, what more have you been able to learn about what happened? What is it like there at the scene right now? KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm only about 30

feet, maybe 30 feet away from the plane. And take a look at what you're talking about, that miraculous landing that you're talking about, if we can zoom in, you see what this is.

This is that vintage plane. The entire front looks like it basically snapped off when he landed. But here are the important things that we see. There doesn't appear to have been any sort of fire. The plane is relatively intact. Now, the top of it is open. You can see how there's an open seating area. But if he was indeed sitting in the back that would plane why his injuries are moderate.

Take a wider look at this golf course. He came so close to the street here. This fence that you see here separates the plane from the street -- right across the street are houses. They have roped off this entire golf course area.

But this scene is relatively small. It does look like he hit a couple, part of a tree as he was coming down. A lot of the residents were starting to hear as they are coming back in. And a lot talking about hearing the noise. They heard some sort of noise as the plane was coming in. There is a lot of concern in this community about these types of planes. A lot of single engine planes that fly in and out of this airport because it's so close to housing.

Whatever happened here, Erin, this is incredibly lucky whether it was intentional. Very, very lucky he didn't come any closer to houses, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, Kyung, and your vantage point is truly stunning. You know, in that press conference, as you and I heard, they said they weren't sure if this was landing was planned. But that it would seem that perhaps it was, because to your point, there's really nowhere else to go. What it sounds like from the vantage point where you are, at that fence less than 30 feet from the plane, even landing on that golf course was an incredibly feat to pull off.

LAH: Yes. I just want to show you one more time what we're talking about here. So, let's zoom out a little bit and see how close this plane is to this fence. You can see that they fenced off this area.

And then I'm going to make my camera man angry as I spin over here. It's not really an attractive shot, but you can see press, some live trucks and there, that's a house.

This is a residential community. A street separates the 30 yards of the plane to the fence to the street. It's all very, very congested here.

So, that's why you may start to hear some of the investigators saying, did he intentionally land here? Was he trying to get back to the airport? It looks like he was heading back that way. This nose you can see is pointed that way. The airport is that way.

It certainly looks like he's turning around to get back at the airport and that this one green space, this one green space instead of houses is what he chose to land at.

BURNETT: And then chose the experience he must have had and miraculous reality that had he landed 30 feet away or 100 feet away, other people could have died. I mean, this could have been a much more horrific incident.

All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much.

I want to bring in Tom Haines to the conversation now.

Tom, you've known Harrison Ford for 10 years, flown in a helicopter with him. As we look those images behind our reporter, Kyung Lah, at that fence 30 feet away from the plane, that shows just the incredible maneuver that would have been required if this was done on purpose, what do you think?

You know Harrison Ford. You know his skill. What do you think happened?

TOM HAINES, FLEW WITH HARRISON FORD IN HIS HELICOPTER (via telephone): Well, of course, it's too soon to speculate about anything, but I do know Harrison. I've flown with him. He's a very skilled. He's very safety-conscious and goes to training routinely for all of his aircraft.

My guess is that he did just what pilots are trained to do. Always looking for places to go should there be a problem and he did what he needed to do, which is put the airplane down safely and not injure anybody else.

BURNETT: Now, I know you have flown with him in helicopters before. This plane, at least my standing is, a two-seater, but when flown by one person, he would fly in that backseat, which could had been part of the reason why he's alive right now.

Did he have a particular love for this plane, this type of plane? We know it was a vintage World War II Ryan PT-22.

HAINES: Correct. And he has a number of plastic airplanes from that era. He is a big fan of airplanes from the World War II era. He had several of them himself, as well some more modern airplanes. He loves preserving them and sort of protecting that legacy.

And it's not unusual in those airplanes from the World War II era that the pilot would fly from the backseat.

BURNETT: And how frequently, Tom, did he fly?

HAINES: Routinely. As much as he could whenever he was in the area and he would fly all of his aircraft. And as I said earlier, he was also very meticulous about going to training, especially for more sophisticated airplanes. Simulators and that sort of thing where he would go off and spend, you know, a week or more for the specific airplane training every year.

BURNETT: And what was he like to fly with? HAINES: Well, as I said earlier, very meticulous. One of the

times in the helicopter was the most thorough preflight of a helicopter I'd seen anyone do. He was all over that thing, climbing up on top, and checking everything. The sort of thing you should do but not everybody does on every flight. He was very meticulous.

BURNETT: That's pretty interesting. You say the most meticulous preflight you've seen.

All right. Well, Tom, thank you very much. We appreciate your time. Tom Haines, of course, has flown with Harrison Ford.

We're going to take a brief break and we'll be right back.


BURNETT: Is John the Baptist related to Jesus? This week's all new episode of "FINDING JESUS" tries to answer that question through the help of modern science, DNA.


NARRATOR: Buried beneath the ruins of an orthodox Christian monastery dedicated to John the Baptist, a box. The church believes contains relics of his bones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the first time we had formally investigated using modern scientific techniques, a relic that is found in a place which had a very reliable context.

NARRATOR: And when the results of the carbon dating finally come in, they discover something truly remarkable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they're digging through, my jaw was a little bit down on the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there, 30 AD., that was when John the Baptist had died. You can see the date fits within that margin.

NARRATOR: Thirty AD, a date consistent with the death of John the Baptist. The DNA results go even further indicating the bones came from a Middle Eastern man. Could these actually be the bones of John the Baptist and a connection to what the Bible points to? A possible blood link between John and Jesus.


BURNETT: It's a pretty stunning and exciting show. "FINDING JESUS" this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN. Just imagine using modern science and DNA trying to get answers to some of those questions that for so many eons have been left to faith.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us anytime.

Our live coverage of Harrison Ford's plane crash continues right now with "AC360."