Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron has paid tribute to the two film executives who died in a helicopter crash in Australia on Saturday, saying "both were true explorers".
Cinematographer Mike deGruy and Australian film producer Andrew Wight were working on a documentary when the helicopter they were passengers in burst into flames shortly after take-off near Sydney. Both have worked with Cameron, said The Hollywood Reporter.
"Mike and Andrew were like family to me. They were my deep-sea brothers, and both were true explorers, who did extraordinary things and went places no human being has been.
"They were passionate storytellers who lived by the explorer's code of humor, empathy, optimism, and courage. Their deaths are a tremendous loss for the world of underwater exploration, conservation, and filmmaking," Cameron said in a statement.
Wight had worked with the Avatar helmer on a variety of underwater-related films including Ghosts of the Abyss, Expedition Bismarck, Aliens of the Deep and Last Mysteries of the Titanic in the last decade.
Three weeks ago, Wight was named managing director of the Melbourne office of Cameron Pace, the first for Cameron's 3D production business outside the US, which provides 3D equipment for film and television projects and live sports broadcasting.