Two Crew Members Killed in Plane Crash on Set of Tom Cruise Film 'Mena'

by Meredith B. Kile 9:04 PM PDT, September 12, 2015
Playing Two Crew Members Killed in Plane Crash on Set of Tom Cruise Film 'Mena'

Two crew members were killed in a plane crash on the set of Tom Cruise's new film, Mena, on Friday.

A third passenger in the twin-engine Aerostar reportedly survived when the plane went down near Medellin, Colombia, where the drug cartel drama is filming.

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"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 spokesperson for Universal Pictures told ET 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."

One of the victims was confirmed to be film pilot Alan Purwin. He worked for Helinet in Van Nuys, California, and was one of the pilots who supported the first response rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. The company described him as "a great man, a world-renowned aviator and a brilliant entrepreneur."

"At Helinet, Alan was known for his passion, generosity, and ability to make us all feel as though we were a part of something much bigger than ourselves," they added in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our heroic founder and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Purwin family."

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Cruise had reportedly wrapped a scene just before the crash. While neither he nor the film's director, Doug Liman, were aboard the plane, the actor had flown in a helicopter across the Columbian Andes on the same flight path just 10 minutes earlier, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mena tells the real-life story of Barry Seal, a drug smuggler-turned-informant who worked with the Medellin Cartel and the DEA. The film is set for release in January 2017.