2 die as plane used by Tom Cruise movie crew crashes in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's civilian aviation authority says a small plane assigned to the crew of a movie starring Tom Cruise has crashed, killing two people aboard and injuring a third.

An official with the aviation agency who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter said Cruise was not on the aircraft.

The spokesperson said two American pilots and a Colombian on the plane but authorities are still trying to identify which of the two people were killed.

KTLA reported that one of the dead was Alan Purwin, chairman of the Los Angeles-based Helinet Aviation. The other, according to the AP, was Carlos Berl, of Colombia.

The official said the twin-engine Aerostar ran into bad weather Friday after taking off from a small colonial town near Medellin.

Cruise, a trained pilot, arrived last month to Colombia to film a movie called "Mena" about a pilot who worked for the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

“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 spokesman for Universal Pictures told the Los Angeles Times. “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.”

Helinet’s company website described Purwin as “one of the top film pilots of his generation.”

“From “Airwolf” in the mid-eighties to “Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Alan has piloted on an extensive list of credits,” the website stated. “He started West Coast Helicopters in 1987, acquiring Helinet Aviation in 1998. Alan’s enduring passion and dedication to his customers ensures an unparalleled safety record and many moments of extraordinary aerial footage seen by millions across the globe.”