Cruise, a trained pilot, was not on the plane. The two people killed were identified as American film pilot Alan David Purwin and Colombian Carlos Berl. Another American pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, was severely injured and hospitalized in Medellin.
Purwin was founder and president of Los Angeles-based Helinet Technologies, which provides aerial surveillance technology to law enforcement and government agencies. He’s worked on such films as “Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Purwin was recently featured in Variety‘s Artisans video series in a segment about aerial photography. Purwin spoke of his efforts to “de-risk” as much as possible when working in dangerous conditions.
Local authorities believe that bad weather caused the twin-engine Aerostar to crash against the Alto de la Clarita mountain.
The Universal Pictures drama directed by Doug Liman has been shooting in Colombia since late August. Cruise plays Barry Seal, the American pilot who worked for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar before he became a spy for the Drug Enforcement Agency. The film also stars Jesse Plemons, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright and Caleb Landry Jones.
“An aircraft carrying crew members crashed while returning to Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellin following production wrap on the film ‘Mena’ resulting in two fatalities,” a Universal spokesperson said in a statement. “Further details are not available at this time. On behalf of the production, our hearts and prayers go out to the crew members and their families at this difficult time.”
“Mena” was the first international production to tap the film incentives offered by Medellin, which offers cash rebates of up to 15%.