Wrongful death suit filed involving Tom Cruise’s Atlanta-filmed “Mena”

Producers of the Tom Cruise film “Mena,” which largely filmed in metro Atlanta, face a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a weather-related plane crash in Medellin, Colombia in September that killed two crew members.

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Cross Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment, and Quadrant Pictures are named as defendants in the suit brought by the widow of American pilot Alan Purwin, EW reports. Carlos Berl of Colombia also was killed in the crash.

From the report:

The complaint claims the defendants “knew that the Accident Aircraft would be flown over rugged, mountainous terrain and in the Republic of Colombia, and yet failed to ensure that Carlos Berl was competent, qualified, rested and sufficiently informed for the flight.” 

(Kathryn) Purwin and her children, Kyle and Michaela, are also suing Berl’s estate. The suit further states that because Berl was “not a member of the cast or crew,” the producers were “in violation of production companies’ rules pertaining to closed sets.”  

Jimmy Lee Garland, a partner with S&S Aviation in Cherokee County, was injured.

Purwin was chairman of Helinet, a Van Nuys, Calif. firm that provides aviation services to motion picture, news, charter, medical and government clients. Helinet CEO Steve Gatena posted a moving tribute to his friend and colleague shortly after the crash:

“Alan Purwin was a great man, a world-renowned aviator, and a brilliant entrepreneur.

At Helinet, Alan was known for his passion, generosity, and ability to make us all feel as though we were a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our heroic founder and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Purwin family.

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.

Alan will be missed by everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing him. His entrepreneurial vision will be remembered by everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him. There are no words that can express our heartache for we have lost one of the world’s greatest helicopter pilots and one of aviation’s greatest leaders.”

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