Settlement Reached in Deaths of Two Men Working on Cruise Film

SANTA MONICA (CNS) - A settlement was reached in all litigation surrounding the deaths of two men in the crash of a plane that was being used to transport crews for the 2017 Tom Cruise film “American Made,” court papers obtained show.

A notice of settlement was filed Monday with Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Elaine Mandel. No terms were divulged.

Cruise, 56, was not among those sued.

One of the men who died in the Sept. 11, 2015, crash in Colombia was Alan Purwin, 54, who was chairman of Helinet, a helicopter service based at Van Nuys Airport that assists news programs and filmmakers in providing aerial shoots.

Although Purwin was a pilot, he was not at the controls of the plane. He was sitting in a rear seat when it went down over rugged terrain.

His wife, Kathryn, and two adult children, Kyle and Michaela Purwin, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2016 against CCP Mena Film Holdings LLC and the estate of Carlos Berl, the man who piloted the aircraft and also died in the crash.

Berl's family also sued the production companies, as well as Purwin's estate.

The litigation, which was later transferred to the Santa Monica courthouse, alleged that CCP Mena negligently directed or permitted Purwin to ride as a passenger in the aircraft.

But in their court papers, CCP Mena maintained it had no liability and that Purwin was in charge of the flight and owned the plane.

“Alan Purwin ... had complete authority and control over the operation of the aircraft on the accident flight,” according to the CCP Mena court papers. “Alan Purwin alone made all the decisions regarding the operation of the aircraft ... including deciding ... who he allowed on board and who he allowed to operate the aircraft.”

CCP Mena “had absolutely zero control over Alan Purwin's decisions related to the accident flight,” according to the company's court papers.

Unknown to the film's producers, Purwin's company “proceeded to rush the purchase of the aircraft so that Alan Purwin could try to learn how to fly it,” according to CCP Mena's court papers. “The facts now show that Alex Purwin's cavalier attitude toward FAA rules, designed for safe aircraft operation, permeated both his lack of qualifications to safely operate the aircraft as well as failing to ensure the aircraft was airworthy.”

Purwin insisted that the flight take place because he wanted to spend the night in accommodations superior to what was available in the area from which the plane departed, according to CCP Mena's court papers, which described Purwin as having “a big personality and a big taste for luxury to accompany it.”

“American Made,” originally entitled “Mena,” was released in August 2017 and made nearly $135 million at the box office.

Photo: Getty Images

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