Variety is reporting that two people have been killed in a plane crash while being transported off the set of Mena, Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman’s new historical thriller about CIA involvement in Central American drug cartels. American film pilot Alan D. Purwin and Colombian Carlos Berl were apparently both killed when the plane carrying them and other crew members crashed into the Andes Mountains on Friday night. Another pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, was badly injured in the crash, and is currently hospitalized in Medellin, Colombia.
Universal has released a statement about the crash, saying, “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. 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.” There’s no word on who was piloting the plane at the time of the crash, although inclement weather has been pointed to as the cause.
Purwin was an experienced pilot with more than a hundred films to his credit, serving as a helicopter pilot and aerial coordinator for Armageddon, Jurassic World, and the Transformers franchise, among many others. He previously worked with Cruise on Tropic Thunder and Magnolia, and was recently featured in a Variety video essay on the art of aerial photography: