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Horror raft accident kills Oscar winner Mike

MIKE Hopkins, who won Academy Awards for sound editing on Lord Of The Rings and King Kong, has died while rafting in New Zealand.

Hopkins (53) drowned when he and two others were tossed out of an inflatable raft in a fast eddy on the Waiohine River in Tararua National Park, northeast of Wellington, said Nick Bohm, a spokesman for the Wellington Police District.

"All three were wearing life jackets, wetsuits and helmets," Bohm said.


Hopkins's companions survived uninjured.

Hopkins shared the 2003 Oscar for Best Sound Editing on Peter Jackson's second Tolkein movie -- Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.

He also shared the 2006 Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Editing for King Kong.

Both of the awards were shared collaborator with Ethan Van der Ryn.

He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Editing in 2008 for the box office smash hit Transformers, but did not win.

"Shocked and saddened by the loss of Mike Hopkins," Mark Ordesky, executive producer of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, wrote today on Twitter.

"Brilliant, humble NZ artist."

Hopkins's earliest movie credit is for sound in the 1962 film She Always Gets Their Man -- a British comedy about a man-eating secretary.

He was the supervising sound editor on all three Lord Of The Rings films.

Hopkins was the dialogue editor on Ridley Scott's Blade Runner as well as the 1987 film The Last Emperor.