Clint Eastwood felt a ”stark terror” when a military bomber he hitched a ride in crashed into shark-infested waters.
The American Sniper director opened up about almost losing his life during his time in the army, admitting he was terrified when the aircraft ran out of fuel and dumped him and the other men on board into the freezing cold ocean.
He said: ”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.”
Explaining how he came to be on the aircraft, he said: ”In those days, you could wear your uniform and get a free flight. 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.”
The 84-year-old – who was a lifeguard and swimming instructor while posted in the U.S. Army’s Fort Ord base in California – confessed that if he’d known what creatures were lurking in the water, he doesn’t think he’d have made it out alive.
Speaking during an interview for the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and TV, he added: ”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.”