ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
Two award-winning filmmakers working on a documentary with Hollywood director James Cameron have been killed in a helicopter crash at a rural airfield south of Sydney.
American cinematographer Michael deGruy, 60, and Australian TV writer-producer Andrew Wight, 52, died when their helicopter crashed at Nowra, shortly after takeoff from an airstrip on Saturday (February 4), according to National Geographic.
Police did not release the victims' identities immediately. However, National Geographic and Oscar-winning director Cameron confirmed their deaths in a statement released on Sunday (February 5).
" ... the deep-sea community lost two of its finest," the statement said.
Local MP Gareth Ward said the helicopter was enroute to a filming location when it crashed.
"I understand that the helicopter was a Robin R44 helicopter. It had flown from Bankstown to Jaspers Brush. It was en route to Jervis Bay talking part in the filming of a documentary," he said on Saturday.
DeGruy and Wight were long-time colleagues of Cameron. Wight co-produced the feature film "Sanctum 3D" with Cameron after accompanying him on six deep-ocean documentary expeditions.
DeGruy, an Emmy award winner with 30 years of experience in ocean filmmaking, was the director of undersea photography for Cameron's "Last Mysteries of the Titanic".
In a statement Cameron said the deaths were a tremendous loss for the world of underwater exploration, conservation, and filmmaking, adding that the pair were "like family to me".