Plane Crash Kills Two On Set Of Tom Cruise Film ‘Mena’ In Colombia

A plane crash during filming of the Tom Cruise movie Mena in the Colombian Andes has killed film pilot Alan Purwin and a Colombian national. A pilot from Georgia was seriously injured in the crash.

While flying up in the Colombian Andes, renowned Los Angeles-based film pilot Alan Purwin and Colombian national, Carlos Berl, were killed in the plane crash, while Jimmy Lee Garland, a pilot from Georgia, was seriously injured. Garland was rushed to hospital in Medellin where he is in intensive care.

According to an official with the aviation agency in Colombia, Tom Cruise himself was not on the plane at the time of the crash.

According to People, Mena stars Tom Cruise, 53, who is himself a trained pilot, playing the part of a American pilot Barry Seal, who was recruited by the CIA in an attempt to capture the cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar. Seal was allegedly shot by assassins sent out by Escobar’s Medellin cartel in 1986 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to Variety, the Universal Pictures drama is directed by Doug Liman and has been filming since late August.

Relating to Friday’s crash, the aviation official said the twin-engine Pipe Aerostar ran into bad weather in the Colombian Andes late Friday, shortly after taking off from Santa Fe de Antioquia on a short flight to Medellin related to the Tom Cruise film. Air traffic control say no emergency was reported to them prior to the crash.

Alan Purwin was the founder and president of Helinet Technologies, a company based in Los Angeles providing aerial surveillance technology to law enforcement. However, as stated on the company’s website, he is also well known as “one of the top film pilots of his generation” for several major Hollywood movies, including Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Pearl Harbor.

According to the company’s website, Purwin first learned to fly a helicopter at the age of 16 and when he turned 18, took his first flying job, crop dusting in Indiana.

An online biography on the Shotover website, an aerial cinematography subsidiary of his company, Helinet. describes his work in the film industry,

“Alan’s enduring passion for film and flying has created aerial footage loved by millions around the world.”

The last tweet sent by Purwin Wednesday showed his excitement at landing on the tricky dirt runway between the tall mountains near Santa Fe de Antioquia.

There is no information available in the media about Carlos Berl, the Colombian who was also killed in the crash. However, Garland, the sole survivor in the crash, is an American flight instructor and manager of a regional airport in Georgia’s Cherokee County near Atlanta.

There was reportedly no comment on Friday’s accident by Tom Cruise’s spokeswoman, Amanda Lundberg.

In the video below, Alan Purwin talks about the dangers of his craft.

[Images: Tom Cruise CC BY-SA 3.0 JJ Georges / Alan Purwin screengrab from YouTube video]