Morgan Freeman had a brush with death on Saturday, December 5. The plane that carried the Oscar-winning actor blew a tire while taking off at Clarksdale, Mississippi airport and was forced to make an emergency landing.
Freeman was heading to Texas where he was scheduled to shoot a segment for National Geographic’s series “The Story of God”. The 78-year-old actor narrates the global series which explores mankind’s quest to understand the divine. He had been in several locations around the world including Cairo, Egypt and will continue filming in Jerusalem and India.
Freeman issued a statement following the incident, saying “Sometimes things don’t go as planned and a tire blew on take-off which caused other problems. But thanks to my excellent pilot Jimmy Hobson we landed safely without a scratch. I cannot say the same about my plane. I appreciate the concern and prayers for our safety.”
Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mayor Bill Luckett who happened to be friends with Freeman said the actor and the pilot were the only two passengers on board the plane. He told ABC News that Hobson landed the plane in Tunica around 5 P.M. after burning off fuel. The twin-engine plane went off the runway but the extent of its damage is not yet known. An inspector would check the plane on Sunday.
According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Kathleen Bergen the Emivest SJ-30 aircraft reported a “mechanical problem” after taking off from Fletcher Field in Lyon which was just outside Clarksdale. She also confirmed in an email that the plane’s main landing gear had collapsed. Freeman was booked another flight that would take him to Houston, Mississippi where he owns a house.