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Harrison Ford: The extraordinary accounts of how the actor has rescued hikers in his helicopter

Harrison Ford’s 80th birthday is as good a time as any to reflect on the times he got to be a hero in real life.

On 31 July 2000, young hiker Sarah George, 20, was on a five-hour climb of the 11,106ft Table Mountain in Wyoming.

When heat, altitude and dehydration led to George being sick and becoming unable to move, her fellow hikers called for help.

What they couldn’t have predicted is that Indiana Jones star Ford would be the one to come to the rescue, with the actor offering his skills as a pilot and his helicopter for rescue missions in the area.

The hikers were able to move George about two miles from mountain’s summit to flatter ground, where Ford could land his Bell 407.

When interviewed about the incident later, George admitted she hadn’t realised it was Ford at first. “He was wearing a T-shirt and a cowboy hat,” she told ABC News. “He didn’t look like I’d ever seen him before.”

Speaking about how she vomited during the flight, George said: “I can’t believe I barfed in Harrison Ford’s helicopter.”

Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones (Rex Features)
Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones (Rex Features)

The following year, in 2001, Ford rescued a 13-year-old boy scout, Cody Clawson, who got lost in a forest close to Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.

“Boy, you sure must have earned a merit badge for this one,” Ford said, according to CBSNews.

“I already earned this badge last summer,” Clawson reportedly replied.

Clawson’s mother added: “Cody said the kids asked if he got an autograph and he said, ‘No, but I got a hug and a handshake, and that’s better than an autograph.’”

Sometimes, Ford is the one who needs rescuing: in 2015, he suffered serious injuries after a small plane he was piloting crashed onto a Los Angeles golf course.

He suffered a broken arm and a wound to his head, among other injuries, but Ben Ford, a restaurateur and the actor’s son, said on Twitter that his dad was “battered, but OK”.