Two people have been killed in a plane crash while filming Tom Cruise's latest movie Mena in Colombia and reports confirm that the Hollywood star himself avoided death by a matter of mere minutes.
The crash, which is believed to have been caused by fog and poor visibility, claimed the lives of veteran Hollywood stunt pilot Alan D. Purwin and Venezuelan pilot Carlos Brel. A third pilot named Jimmy Lee Garland survived the crash with serious injuries to his legs, arms, face and chest and is currently in a stable condition in hospital. The crash itself is currently under investigation and it is not yet clear who was at the controls when the plane went down.
According to The Associated Press, Tom Cruise had been flying the same path as where the accident occurred just 10 minutes before the fatal crash in the Andes Mountains.
Alan D. Purwin was a key figure in aerial cinematography and he had contributed to filming hundreds of scenes for Hollywood movies including the Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Hunger Games franchises. He also ran a charter service flying important celebrities and public figures including British royalty.
Purwin was also well known as a philanthropist and he used his aerial expertise to aid delivering organs for transplants swiftly and effectively, the CEO of his aviation company Shotover released a statement that reads:
Alan was both a pioneer in the film industry and committed philanthropist. His legacy includes many feats such as conducting the first vital organ transplant mission in Los Angeles, supporting the first response rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and being the only American Hollywood movie pilot to fly throughout the People’s Republic of China
Universal Pictures has also released a statement about the death of the pilots which simply reads:
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
Although Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman have not yet released their own statement about the accident, other Hollywood celebrities have been paying tribute to Purwin on social media: