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Two dead as plane assigned to Tom Cruise film crashes in Colombia

Published 12/09/2015

The Mission: Impossible star was not on board the plane, officials confirmed (AP)
The Mission: Impossible star was not on board the plane, officials confirmed (AP)

A small plane assigned to the crew of a movie starring Tom Cruise has crashed in the Colombian Andes, killing two people and seriously injuring a third.

Cruise was not on board the aircraft, the Colombian civil aviation authority said.

An American, Alan Purwin, was killed along with Colombian national Carlos Berl.

A third person aboard, US pilot Jimmy Lee Garland, was rushed to a hospital in Medellin, where he is in intensive care.

The twin-engine Aerostar ran into bad weather on Friday afternoon after taking off from the colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia for a short flight to Medellin. No emergency was reported to air traffic controllers.

Cruise, a trained pilot, arrived last month to Medellin to film a movie called Mena, about US pilot Barry Seal, a drug runner recruited by the CIA to try and capture the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Seal was shot and killed in 1986 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, allegedly by assassins sent by Escobar's Medellin cartel.

Cruise's spokeswoman, Amanda Lundberg, made no comment.

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

On the company's website, he's described as "one of the top film pilots of his generation" with a list of credits from television and major Hollywood movies such as Transformers, 'Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In his last Tweet sent Wednesday, Mr Purwin expressed joy at landing on a dirt runway between the mountains surrounding Santa Fe de Antioquia.

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