As RadarOnline.com has learned, two professional pilots, Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl died on the Colombia set of the upcoming movie.
"Was a tragedy during the production of Cruise's American Made preventable? Conflicting accounts and a pilot in a 'death pool' raise questions about safety and the filmmakers' role in it all: 'Hollywood cut corners,'" wrote THR after the brutal accidents.
Local villagers stated that they heard the small plane crash near the village of La Clarita. Three people were inside, Purwin, 51, Berl, 58, and Jimmy Lee Garland, 55. Garland was the only one who survived.
While sources have stated that pilot Purwin was a wreck less, danger-seeking pilot, they flight that killed him and his co-worker was not a dangerous movie stunt, but a short commute home.
While the film was being filmed in northeast Colombia, the filmmakers and airmen were based in Medellin. They were simply leaving the set after a long day of work.
According to THR, many pilots and experts agreed that Purwin was “of a handful of maverick Hollywood pilots known for taking unnecessary risks and being dangerous.”
Pals placed him in a ground fellow airmen tend to call the “death pool” which includes a group of risk-taking pilots that are likely to crash while flying.
The small stunt plane in which he was in with Berl was what pilots tend to call a “widow maker” or “death star.”
“You had better be darn good in that craft if you're going to fly it,” said Chris Palmer, a safety and risk assessment consultant well-known in Hollywood.
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Berl had reportedly never been aboard such a plane before the incident.
Following a series of lawsuits by the victims’ families, Hollywood reporter has discovered that "the process to ensure pilots were properly trained and licensed may have been flawed ... in court records, the litigants accuse the production companies and other parties of behaving 'unlawfully and carelessly.'"
A local pilot stated that the weather conditions that day were not safe for flying, suggesting that the trained pilots had not been trained to fly in Colombia.
“I fly there regularly, and I would have stayed on the ground that day,” he admitted, “You have to have experience to fly in Colombia. You cannot fly here like you fly in Miami, where there's not a mountain anywhere. If you fly in South America, you have to be very trained in the conditions.'”
In the film, Tom Cruise plays a TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to provide intelligence on the Colombian cartel.
Garland stated that verified pilot Cruise "liked to participate in the stunts." And was eventually doing all the stunts himself.
A lawyer on the case claimed that the Hollywood actor had been on the plane “just moments before” it took off and that Berl’s rush to save time and money is what led to his and his co-worker’s death.
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