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BAFTA winner deGruy and Sanctum filmmaker Wight die in 'copter crash


By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 5, 2012 | 3 min read

Top American cinematographer Mike deGruy , winner of multiple BAFTA awards, and Australian writer-producer Andrew Wight have been killed in a fiery helicopter crash in Australia.

Mike deGruy: underwater star

The two died when their helicopter crashed as it was taking off from an airstrip south of Berry in New South Wales on Saturday afternoon. They were scouting locations for a documentary, said the Australian.

In addition to his BAFTAs, deGruy, 60, had won Emmy awards for cinematography. He was a specialist in underwater filming and "had more meals on the Titanic, now resting at 12,500 feet deep, than did the doomed passengers," says his website.

Wight, 51, was writer-producer of the 3D film Sanctum, shot on Australia's Gold Coast which took $100m worldwide last year.

Sanctum was said to have been based on Wight's near-death experience in an underwater cave.

Wight was reportedly working on a project with American director James Cameron, the man behind Titanic and Avatar - and also the executive producer of Sanctum.

Four days before the crash Mr deGruy, who came from Santa Barbara, California, tweeted: "Been in Australia 2 weeks, one to go then off to PNG. Love this place especially Sydney on Australia Day."

The Deep Sea News said today of deGruy's death: "Smooth sailing, Mike, we're sorry to see you go so soon."

The TED website said, "Mike was truly one of the great teachers and advocates for the oceans."

In addition to filmmaking, deGruy had become a speaker and had interviewed James Cameron, Sir David Attenborough and Al Gore on stage.

"Mike has dived under the ice at both poles, been to all continents, become a submersible pilot, dived hundreds of times in many types of submersibles, and filmed the hydrothermal vents in both the Atlantic and the Pacific," says his website Give it a vist to find out more about this remarkable man.

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