Movie star, acclaimed director and quintessential tough guy Clint Eastwood was involved in a real life harrowing drama as the plane he hitched a ride from back in the 50’s had a plethera of problems and eventually crash landed in great white shark infested waters!
Back when he was a soldier, he hitched a ride from Seattle to California back to base when the terrifying incident occurred. Recently, while addressing the Loyola Marymount University School of Film & TV, Eastwood recalled the horror:
“What was going through my mind was just a stark fear, a stark terror, because (in the) first place, I didn’t know anything about aviation at that particular time — I was just hopping a ride,”
“In those days, you could wear your uniform and get a free flight,” he said. “On the way back, they had one plane, a Douglas AD, sort of a torpedo bomber of the World War II vintage, and I thought I’d hitch on that. Everything went wrong. Radios went out. Oxygen ran out. And finally we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California, and went in the ocean. So we went swimming. It was late October, November. Very cold water. (I) found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground, but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time or I’d have just died.”
source compiled by mercurynews.com
The pilot and Eastwood got separated while swimming the 1 – 3 miles to shore (Port Reyes, Caifornia), but were later reunited and both extremely grateful to be alive.
Eastwood is currently working on his next picture, ironically enough, about the real -life drama of Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger, who heroically piloted the plane and saved many lives in the Hudson River plane crash.