Plane Crash on Tom Cruise Film Set Leaves 2 Dead

Tom Cruise movie plane crash
David Fisher/REX

A plane crash during the shoot of Tom Cruise’s movie “Mena” killed two and seriously injured a third person on Friday night in Medellin, Colombia.

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%.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 50

Leave a Reply

50 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Tina bambina says:

    My reply went in the wrong spot saying grow up! It was for Johnny Shackleford!!!! Not where it went I’m sorry it accidentally went were it went I didn’t put it there the website did! Sorry for the misunderstanding! My sincere condolences to Alan Purwin’s family and friends and to his crew members who I honestly think should of been more careful, but then again Alan himself was in charge of this I guess? I don’t know? It’s a mystery to me? I can’t put blame when I don’t know where it lies? I gather it lies within each of everyone to there own? You must put safety at the forefront of everything you do within everything you do, and you must do it on a daily basis with that thing you do properly, or something is going to end up going wrong in the end! If you don’t have safety in the forefront of everything then something will go wrong as I do know with my skydiving that I do! Not as dangerous but it’s dangerous enough!! And safety is paramount! But my prayers and thoughts are with the family and crew of Alan Purwin’s for the next few weeks! As I do know that you will be needing them! Sending you all hugs from Australia! Tina Bambina 🌺 xo

  2. Peggy says:

    Honestly, I am just very impressed with the picture of Tom Cruise that shows he has NOT messed up his face with plastic surgery. He looks good, like a man should!

  3. On behalf of the production, our hearts and prayers go out to the crew members and their families at this difficult time.” Yeah, sure they do…

  4. B. Obama Ooga Booga says:

    I blame G. Bush for this mess.

  5. koba says:

    What a coincidence! I was just watching “Narcos” on Netflix and learned a little bit about Barry Seal. It didn’t end well for him.

  6. joejoe jenx says:

    Watch NARCOS on Netflix. It’s about Pablo’s rise and fall, and it is pretty much the best new show on TV.

  7. Tom Mccoy says:

    How can we blame Republicans or global warming?

  8. custerboy says:

    Better to use drones as aerial camera platforms.

  9. Joeyblitz says:

    So these poor guys died so the producers could get their 15% off coupon on their production costs.

    • blitzerjoe says:

      no joey, they died in a horrible accident. on a film set in Columbia, filmed in Columbia. I suppose in your world, van nuys looks or reseda looks enough like Columbia, but taxes aside, it is important to the flim. and if you and yours would stop raping and pillaging the very industry that supports the entire state of California, then perhaps productions would return.

  10. talis says:

    Barry Seal was is/was a horrible person who ratted out people.

  11. Louie Cowan says:

    The headline “Plane Crash on Tom Cruise Film Set Leaves 2 Dead” is misleading. The crash never happened ‘on set’. The movie was wrapped and the only connection Tom Cruise had to the occupants of the plane is that they worked on the same movie that he was starring in. Tom Cruise is not even a producer on this movie, so the use of his name in the headline is really click-bate and should be denounced for the opportunism it represents by the writer on a story about the death of these talented men.

  12. nobama666 says:

    Better call Saul.

  13. Mike says:

    Symbolism is very strong with this story. Don’t allow the eye to fool the mind!

  14. EK says:

    Alan lost a business flying partner years ago in an Apache helicopter crash involving them both while filming and now this! Truly tragic. Both were great people and skilled craftsmen. To his credit Alan carried on and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Very sad.

  15. Ade Meyer says:

    Please keep comments pertaining to the story. Show some respect!

  16. Kark Harmon says:

    It might not be a good idea for a surveillance pilot to be flying around in Medellin, Columbia. You may be mistaken for the heat.

  17. athena brown says:

    Our prayers go out to everyone and the families.

  18. jim says:

    Did Tom die, no, then why is his mug even featured?

  19. troyfeltes says:

    I am sorry at your loss . Planes are having their share of wrecks lately that’s for sure.

  20. Hawaii Vaction Czar says:

    Can’t wait to see the part where Bill Clinton (as Arkansas Gov.) works with his brother Roger and Barry Seal to secure smuggling of coke into Mena Arkansas.

    • Marvin says:

      I was concerned that no one remembered ole Slick Willie’s role in the Mena smuggling operation. Don’t forget that Col. Ollie North was also in on – He smuggled guns flying south and dope coming back. What a tale of characters. I did not know the Bush family was also in on it. It was such a far flung conspiracy there is no telling who all was involved. May be even the Kennedy’s/ Old Joe was a bootlegger.

    • Buster says:

      Don’t forget the part where George HW Bush’s phone number is in Barry Seal’s pocket when he’s found dead. If you think it’s one political family that was in on it, you’re wrong.

  21. Johnny Shackleford says:

    There are mountains all around that airport and it does not have precision approach IFR capabilities for bad weather/low ceilings. Like many South American airports, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

  22. Sean says:

    Rest in peace. Just sad .

  23. Julie Purwin says:

    My condolences. 😔

  24. wanda stuart says:

    flying in bad weather? the show must go on? a matter of time before a tragedy occured in the making of an “action” film

  25. You idiots Carlos Berl is not a colombian is a venezuelan, you are journalist, if you were a good one you would know that.

  26. Susan McMahon Saraf says:

    Heartbreaking – huge loss.

  27. One of the few teams that went above and beyond to capture gorgeous footage for some of the greatest motion pictures of our time.

    My heart goes out to all who are affected by this tragedy.

  28. Michael K. Benson says:

    The Original AIRWOLF Pilot And GREAT MAN And Friend To Many Is Now In The Arms Of GOD….
    And Also Flying HIM Around….Fly For Eternity Pal !

  29. nreclleshaj says:

    Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Condolences and strength may God grant to the hearts of their families.

  30. RIP. The production team should be more careful.

  31. BillUSA says:

    Condolences to the families of those lost in this tragic accident. Prayers to the injured as they recover.

  32. Not happy says:

    Was it a plane or chopper?

  33. Mark Zigler says:

    My heart goes out to the Purwin Family whom I considered extended family in our youth. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Alan was a prince among men. He will be sadly missed by all who he touched in his life. He was kind, humble, giving and passionate about his skill. Flying with Alan was one of the greatest joys of my young life, and being friends, now one of my greatest losses.
    Rest easy old buddy. Fly with us forever.

  34. John says:

    Tom Cruise left Scientology recently Paul.

  35. Tina bambina says:

    Grow up, your comments aren’t needed here.

  36. Paul Thrison says:

    Everything will be ok. Tom: with scientology Will take care of all. Bereavement for the families included.

  37. Johnny Shackleford says:

    You just earned yourself a Karma badge. Pin it on and wear it proudly…because it will eventually stick you.

  38. George McLaughlin says:

    And We needed that stupidity ? …

  39. Sam Valley says:

    Wishing death on someone? Bad form bro

More Film News from Variety

Loading