Neal Fredericks, 35, cinematographer of the low-budget but successful horror film "The Blair Witch Project," was killed in a plane crash Aug. 14 while filming a movie over the Dry Tortugas.

Mr. Fredericks, a Los Angeles resident, was dragged down by the wreckage of a single-engine Cessna as the pilot and three other members of his film crew escaped to be rescued later, the Coast Guard said.

A team of U.S. Army Special Forces divers recovered the body of Mr. Fredericks inside the submerged plane about 70 miles west of Key West, Fla.

Mr. Fredericks collaborated with writers Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick on "The Blair Witch Project," an intense, atmospheric horror movie about three student filmmakers who venture into the woods in search of a spooky legend.

The 1999 film, shot in Maryland, used hand-held cameras for a realistic feel. It was hailed for costing almost nothing to make and grossing more than $240 million worldwide at the box office. Mr. Fredericks worked on more than two dozens films in his career.

Sanchez and Mr. Fredericks, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., met in 1987, when they were students at Montgomery College in Rockville.

On his Web site, Sanchez wrote about how Mr. Fredericks approached work on "Blair Witch."

"Blair Witch didn't need to be lit, so he didn't light it," Sanchez wrote. "It didn't need a camera operator, so he didn't operate. What he did do was make sure those actors knew everything they could and had everything they needed to keep shooting, to keep getting those images into the camera."