Victims' families blame Cruise for film deaths

The families of two pilots killed in a plane crash during the filming of the Tom Cruise movie American Made have filed a lawsuit which alleges the star was partly to blame for the accident.

The crash, which occurred in September 2015 in Colombia, left pilots Alan Purwin, 51, and Carlos Berl, 58, dead, while fellow passenger Jimmy Lee Garland, 55, was left partly paralysed.

The families of Purwin and Berl are suing the producers of the film for wrongful death and damages, claiming that they "cut corners" and ignored basic safety procedures in a rush to save time and money.

While they're not named as defendants in the lawsuit, Cruise and director Doug Liman are singled out for "negligence", with the families citing the duo's "desire to film a high-risk, action-packed motion picture" as partly responsible for the accident.

"The demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise's and Liman's enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule," the court papers say, People reports.

The lawsuit claims an executive producer had sent a complaint to the film's insurance company before the accident directly criticising Cruise and Liman's on-set approach.

"DL (Doug Liman) and TC (Tom 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," the note said.

Another email included in the suit, written by Purwin to the same executive producer, has the pilot and regular Hollywood stuntman describing the film as "the most dangerous project I've ever encountered".

"There's a very thin line between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!" Purwin wrote.

The film, which opened in local cinemas in August, stars Cruise as Barry Seal, a commercial pilot-turned-drug smuggler who becomes a covert informant for the DEA.

It earned largely positive reviews, was named Cruise's "best role in years", and pulled over $5 million at the Australian box office.

Representatives for Cruise and Universal Pictures have yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Cruise is currently working on Mission: Impossible 6 with director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher). The film's shoot has been delayed for weeks after Cruise suffered a broken ankle during a failed stunt in August.

This story Victims' families blame Cruise for film deaths first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.