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Deep-sea filmmakers killed in Australia helicopter crash

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Two award-winning filmmakers working on a documentary with renowned Hollywood director James Cameron were killed in a helicopter crash in Australia on Saturday, according to National Geographic.

American cinematographer Michael deGruy, 60, and Australian TV writer-producer Andrew Wight, 52, were killed when their helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from an airstrip south of Sydney, the media group said on its website.

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.

" ... the deep-sea community lost two of its finest," the statement said.

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' experience in ocean filmmaking, was director of undersea photography for Cameron's "Last Mysteries of the Titanic."

"Mike and Andrew were like family to me," Cameron said in the statement.

"Their deaths are a tremendous loss for the world of underwater exploration, conservation, and filmmaking," he said.

(Reporting By Maggie Lu YueYang; Editing by Paul Tait)

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