Tom Cruise Partially Blamed for Plane Crash That Killed Two People on Set of American Made
Two men died after a Sept. 2015 plane crash on the set of Tom Cruise's American Made
Three of the pilots hired for the movie were involved in a plane crash during filming when their twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600 went down in the mountains. Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl died on the scene, while Jimmy Lee Garland was left without feeling in the lower half of his body.
According to new court documents provided to PEOPLE by The Blast, the estates of Purwin and Berl claim that Cruise and director Doug Liman’s desire to film a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture” contributed to the circumstances that led to the accident.
“The demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise’s and director Doug Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule,” state the documents.
Purwin and Berl’s families are both suing the producers of the film — Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures — for wrongful death and damages.
They allege that the production companies ignored safety procedures before the flight in order to save time and money.
“Lapses in planning, coordinating, scheduling, and flight safety that were the Defendants’ responsibility resulted in an unqualified and unprepared pilot being pressed into service for a dangerous flight in a vintage aircraft across an unfamiliar mountain pass in bad weather,” state the documents.
Though Cruise and Liman are not named defendants in the lawsuit, the families allege they were “negligent” in allowing the flight to take place under such circumstances.
The lawsuit also claims one of the executive producers on the film sent a formal complaint to the insurance company about Cruise and Liman.
“DL [Director Liman] and TC [Cruise] [are] adding entire scenes and aerial shots on the fly. Had to bring in Uni Safety to help wrangle them. In the last 48 hours this has become the most insane s— I’ve ever dealt with,” it read, according to the lawsuit.
In a separate email, Purwin called the film “the most dangerous project I’ve ever encountered.”
“You have no idea the exposure TC and the entire Aerial Team is realizing every time we get in the air,” he wrote, according to the court papers. “There’s a very ‘thin line’ between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!”
The families go on to argue that Cruise could have piloted the plane, calling him “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”
The families are also suing each other, with Berl’s family filing a suit against Garland, the only survivor.
Universal Pictures and Cruise had no comment on the matter.
The original lawsuit was filed in April 2016.