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Australian TV Star Faces Charges Related to Helicopter Accident

Suspect’s Costar Killed in February 2022 Mishap

Matt Wright, star of the Australian reality television series Outback Wrangler, is facing charges of perverting the course of justice, destruction of evidence, fabricating evidence, interfering with witnesses, and unlawful entry in connection with a 28 February 2022 helicopter accident that claimed the life of his series co-star, Chris “Willow” Wilson.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr. Wright put forth: "Matt strenuously denies any wrongdoing. What happened was a tragic accident that took the life of a close mate.” The statement continues: “His [Wright’s] immediate concern following the accident was the condition of the two team members on-board at the time. The next priority was ensuring the other helicopters and team members at the site weren’t at risk and that the location was safe. Matt will not be making any further statement, but he will be vigorously defending the charges.”

According to an arrest warrant issued for the popular 43-year-old reality television star, Wright must present himself no later than Wednesday, 30 November 2022 to police in Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s vast Northern Territory.

Wright’s co-star, Chris Wilson, 34, was killed when the Robinson R44 helicopter beneath which he was hanging collided with trees and terrain in west Arnhem Land—an historical region approximately 270-nautical-miles east of the Darwin metropolitan area.

A preliminary report issued in April 2022 by Australia’s Air Transport Safety Bureau states Wilson’s body was found along the King River, forty-meters from the helicopter’s main wreckage. Wilson, a father of two, had been harvesting eggs from crocodile nests by dint of a harness and a thirty-meter line by which he was attached to the R44 as it hovered above the swampy environs to which breeding crocodiles are peculiar.

The downed helicopter—one of three then being utilized to collect crocodile eggs—was located by its sister ships after failing to respond to radio calls. The aircraft’s pilot, Sebastian Robinson, sustained serious vertebral column injuries in the accident and was airlifted to Maningrida before being transferred to a Darwin hospital.

In its preliminary analysis of the accident site, the ATSB determined that the R44’s main rotor had repeatedly struck and cut through a tree trunk before the aircraft impacted the underlying ground. Initial assessments indicated the R44’s engine had stopped prior to the machine’s coming to rest. An examination of the wreckage revealed no defects likely to have caused the engine stoppage. Damage to neither the R44’s tail rotor blades nor their drive system was observed.

The lost helicopter is understood to have been certified as safe to operate by independent aviation experts just weeks before the accident.

Two additional individuals have been charged in connection with the February mishap.

Filmed in remote Australian locations, Outback Wrangler is an adventure TV series airing in more than ninety countries. The show chronicles the capture and transport of dangerous animals, such as crocodiles and wild buffalo, which pose ostensible threats to human beings.

Wright and Wilson formerly appeared in Netflix’s Wild Croc Territory. Netflix has yet to disclose whether another season of the popular show will be produced.



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