Clint Eastwood Once Survived a Crash Landing: Here’s What Happened

by Madison Miller
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Clint Eastwood has continually crashed through the entertainment industry with a number of standout performances.

He has made a name for himself as an actor, director, composer, producer, and all-around filmmaking extraordinaire. Some of his roles include “Unforgiven,” “Mystic River,” Million Dollar Baby,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

While Eastwood has landed himself gracefully in the entertainment industry, not all of his landings have been smooth in that sense. In fact, Eastwood once survived a nearly tragic crash landing.

Here’s what happened and how he managed to survive it.

Clint Eastwood Survives Crash

The crash landing he survived had nothing to do with filming.

Instead, Eastwood was in a Douglas AD bomber plane. It was during the 1950s when he was in the Korean War. According to Work and Money, 21-year-old Eastwood was traveling to Seattle to spend time with his girlfriend and his parents.

While up in the air, the door opened and wouldn’t stay shut. Eastwood was able to use some basic survival skills to rig the door shut with some nearby loose cables.

The pilot then made the decision to fly over an oncoming storm. By making this decision, both Eastwood and the pilot had to suffer through the air thinning out. To make matters worse, Eastwood’s oxygen mask wasn’t working.

That right there is three strikes against Eastwood and surely should have ended poorly. However, the plane decided to make matters even worse and started to run out of fuel. The pilot had no choice but to maneuver his way into a crash landing at sea.

In the first lucky occurrence of the ride, the landing was successful. Clint Eastwood and the pilot ended up swimming to shore through the shark-infested waters of Point Reyes. It was also frigid cold water at the time. The odds of getting eaten by a shark after being involved in an emergency plane crash are extremely low, luckily.

In fact, the odds of being eaten by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million and the odds of getting into a plane crash are about 0.007%.

That didn’t stop the sheer terror Eastwood felt in the moment. Luckily, he didn’t know it was a shark breeding ground until years later.

“What was going through my mind was just a stark fear, a stark terror because first place, I didn’t know anything about aviation at that particular time I was just hopping a ride,” Eastwood said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

‘Sully’ Eastwood Movie

The event has some connections to one of Eastwood’s future films called “Sully.” Eastwood was the director for this 2016 biographical drama.

The movie itself was not in any way based on what happened to Clint Eastwood that day. Although having first-hand knowledge and the emotions that circulate around a plane crash probably was useful in many ways.

“Sully” is based on the autobiography “Highest Duty.” It follows the story of Chesley Sullenberger’s emergency landing of the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Miraculously, he was able to save the 155 passengers and crew members on the plane.

Tom Hanks plays Sullenberger in the movie. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing in 2016. At the time, others in Hollywood believed that there wasn’t a movie to be told in the story, rather more like a documentary. Eastwood always had faith in the film though.

“I definitely did think about it when I was shooting this. I’m probably the only director who’s actually been in a water landing. But it had no bearing on me making this movie. I would have shot this movie anyway,” Clint Eastwood said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The plane crash may not have been his reason behind making the film, but that day surely was running through his head while filming. The plane that crashed was never found. Fast Company reports that a team from Berkeley, California is setting out to look for it as of 2018. They said, “We’re going to find that plane.”

The OpenRov CEO, David Lang, has been using the storytelling platform called Open Explorer to share research regarding the location of the plane.

Outsider.com