Actor Morgan Freeman was uninjured Saturday after the private plane he was flying in blew a tire after takeoff from a Mississippi airport and had to make an emergency landing, authorities said. No one else on the plane was injured.
Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, a longtime friend of Freeman, told the Associated Press the aircraft made what he described as a controlled forced landing just before dark Saturday at an airport in Tunica after it had taken off from Clarksdale.
Both cities are near each other in northwestern Mississippi, with Tunica about 40 miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, and one sheriff's official said the plane went off the runway after landing.
Freeman issued a statement saying he was heading to Texas from Mississippi aboard his plane Saturday to shoot a segment for the series, "The Story of God."
"Sometimes things don't go as planned and a tire blew on takeoff, which caused other problems," Freeman said in the statement sent by his publicist. "But thanks to my excellent pilot Jimmy Hobson we landed safely without a scratch."
"I cannot say the same about my plane," Freeman added in the statement, which didn't elaborate on the condition of the aircraft after the unexpected landing. "I appreciate the concern and prayers for our safety."
The plane Freeman was carrying in was an SJ30, which the SyberJet Aircraft company describes on its website as a light business jet, according to Luckett. The Clarksdale mayor told AP another plane went to Tunica to pick up the Oscar-winning actor.
Freeman was the only person on board the plane, according to LocalMemphis.com.
Tunica County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Randy Stewart told AP that the plane made an emergency landing and went off the runway. Stewart confirmed there were no injuries, that Freeman was not piloting the aircraft and tat an inspector will check on the plane Sunday.
Freeman was involved in a 2008 car accident that seriously injured the actor and a passenger in Mississippi on a rural highway near his home. No charges were filed and Freeman settled a lawsuit in 2009 that was filed by the passenger.
Freeman is known for his roles in "The Shawshank Redemption," ''Driving Miss Daisy," ''Seven," and "Invictus." He has been nominated for five Academy Awards and won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in Clint Eastwood's 2004 film "Million Dollar Baby."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.