1 Jan 2013

Oscar winner dies in rafting accident

5:15 am on 1 January 2013

A man who died in a rafting accident in Wairarapa on Sunday was a double Oscar-winning sound editor.

Michael Hopkins, 53, of Greytown died after his inflatable raft flipped, throwing him into the Waiohine River.

In 2006, Mr Hopkins shared an Oscar with Ethan Van der Ryn for best achievement in sound editing for their work on King Kong.

In 2003, the pair won the Oscar for best sound editing on the Lord of the Rings movie The Two Towers.

He also worked on other Peter Jackson movies, such as Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners.

Mr Hopkins wife Nicci and his friend and colleague Ray Beentjes were also on the raft, but survived.

Police said all three were wearing life jackets, wetsuits and helmets.

They said it appears Mr Hopkins got into trouble after landing in a fast flowing eddie.

In a statement, Mr Hopkins' family said: "Michael always had a great love of adventure and will be sorely missed by his family and friends".

The family have asked for privacy.