Oscar-winning sound editor Mike Hopkins drowned in an accident while he and friends were rafting in the Tararua Range in northern New Zealand. Hopkins, 53, was found dead by a helicoptor rescue team after an inflatable craft capsized on the Waiohine River on Sunday afternoon, according to The OneRing.net blog. His rafting companions, a man and a woman, survived. Police told the Australian that all three people were wearing life jackets, wetsuits and helmets and it appeared that Hopkins ran into trouble after they were thrown from the craft in a fast flowing current. Hopkins and Ethan Van der Ryn won Academy Awards for Sound Editing on director Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers and King Kong. Hopkins, pictured on left with Van der Ryn, first worked for Jackson as sound designer for the director’s 1992 horror-comedy Braindead. It was the first of several collaborations over the next 20 years. Hopkins also worked on Heavenly Creatures as well as The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Hopkins and Van der Ryn were also nominated for sound editing on the first of the Transformers movies. Hopkins was also nominated for five British Academy of Film and Television Arts  awards. Hopkins film credits also include ADR or dialogue editor on Public Enemies, Valkyrie, Kung Fu Panda and Dreamgirls. Hopkins is featured in this YouTube video about the sound design for The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers:

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