A small plane assigned to the crew of a movie starring Tom Cruise crashed in the Colombian Andes yesterday, killing two people, including a Los Angeles-based film pilot. An official with the nation's aviation agency says Cruise was not aboard the aircraft. The official said an American, Alan Purwin, was killed along with the Colombian Carlos Berl. A third person aboard, Jimmy Lee Garland, a pilot from Georgia, was taken to a hospital in Medellin, where he was in intensive care.
The official said the twin-engine plane ran into bad weather late yesterday 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. The Piper Aerostar-600 appears to be the same aircraft that Cruise, a trained pilot, was photographed exiting the cockpit from upon his arrival in Medellin on Aug. 20 to start work on his new film. Called Mena, the film stars Cruise as American pilot Barry Seal, a drug runner recruited by the CIA to try and capture the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.