Two killed in plane crash involving aircraft linked to Tom Cruise film Mena

American film pilot, Alan Purwin, and Colombian national, Carol Berl, both died in the crash, while US pilot Jimmy Lee Garland is currently in intensive care

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The Independent Online

Two people have been killed and a third seriously injured after a small plane assigned to the crew of a film starring Tom Cruise crashed in the Colombian Andes.

An American film pilot, Alan Purwin, and Carlos Berl both died in the crash, while US pilot Jimmy Lee Garland is currently in intensive care in a hospital in Medellin.

The Colombian civil aviation authority confirmed that Cruise was not on board the aircraft.

Cruise’s spokeswoman, Amanda Lundberg, made no comment about the incident.

The twin engine Aerostar encountered bad weather on Friday afternoon after taking off from the town of Santa Fe Antioquia for the short flight to Medellin.

No emergency was reported to air traffic controllers.

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Cruise, who is himself a trained pilot, arrived in Medellin last month to film Mena

Mr Purwin was the founder and president of the Los Angeles-based company Helinet Technologies, providing aerial surveillance technology and law enforcement.

He was also described as “one of the top film pilots of his generation” on the company's website with a list of credits from television and major Hollywood films such as Transformers, Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean.

“Alan's enduring passion for film and flying has created aerial footage loved by millions around the world,” according to an online bio on the website of Shotover.

Garland, the only survivor, is a flight instructor and manager of a regional airport in Georgia’s Cherokee County near Atlanta.

Cruise, who is himself a trained pilot, arrived in Medellin last month to film Mena, a film about US pilot Barry Seal – a drug runner recruited by the CIA to capture the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

The Piper Aerostar-600, with tail number N164HH, appears to be the same aircraft that Cruise was photographed exiting upon his arrival in Medellin.

Additional reporting by agencies

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