Reality TV personality Matt Wright is facing a series of felony charges within hours of a helicopter crash that tragically killed one of his best friends earlier this year.
An arrest warrant was issued for the Outback Wrangler star on Monday, following an extensive police investigation into the crash that killed his co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson, 34, in February.
Wright, 43, was spotted passing through Sydney Airport security gates with his wife Kaia and their newborn daughter Dusty Faith on Tuesday morning.
He boards a Qantas flight to Darwin after detectives issued the warrant for his arrest and gave him a 48-hour deadline to present himself at a police station in the Northern Territory.
He will be charged with at least six criminal offences, including perverting the course of justice, destroying evidence, falsifying evidence, obstructing witnesses, trespassing and making a false statement.
Wright has since strenuously denied he did anything wrong over what he described as a tragic accident.
Matt Wright was spotted at Sydney Airport on Tuesday morning, a day after NT Police issued an arrest warrant
Wilson was collecting crocodile eggs in a remote area of western Arnhem Land when the helicopter he was attached to crashed on February 28.
The married father of two young sons was attached to the Robinson R44 helicopter with a 30m line and harness before the helicopter collided with a tree and crashed into the King River on the last day of the Top End’s wet season .
Pilot Sebastian Robinson was seriously injured in the crash and is still recovering from a spinal cord injury.
Police will claim that Wright tampered with evidence at the crash site as fresh new claims emerged about events before and after the deadly crash.
It is known minutes before the crash that claimed his life, Wilson took a photo of the fuel gauge showing the helicopter’s nearly full tank, which he then shared in a WhatsApp group chat.
Wilson’s cell phone is said to have subsequently disappeared at the crash site, The Australian reported.
The photo contradicts the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s preliminary report, which found investigators only drained about 250ml of blue fuel from the main tank after the crash, despite the two fuel tanks still being intact.
Matt Wright was accompanied by his wife Kaia, who rocked their 10-day-old daughter
The Outback Wrangler star is being charged over the helicopter crash that killed his close friend and co-star Chris “Willow” Wilson (pictured)
It is understood that the charges for unlawful entry relate to Wright entering Mr. Robinson’s home and his helicopter hangar without permission.
They will also allege that Wright visited Mr Robinson in hospital twice after the crash to try to get him to falsify records related to the helicopter involved in the crash and to delete evidence from his mobile phone.
Sources told the publication that Wright was not on the egg collection mission that ended tragically because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19 and was not allowed to enter the exclusion zone.
However, it is claimed that he was flown to the crash site by a second helicopter immediately afterwards.
Police will also allege that Wright regularly disconnected the hour meter in the VH-IDW and other helicopters used by his company and instructed other personnel to do the same.
Photographs provided to police by tourists who had traveled in the helicopter showed that the helicopter was in use on days when information to CASA indicated it had not flown.
Clearly, police spent at least six months investigating Wright’s actions before and after the fatal crash.
Helicopter pilot Michael Burbidge and former NT police officer Neil Mellon were previously charged with various offenses in connection with the crash.
Matt Wright (pictured with his wife Kaia) is expected to present himself at a police station in Darwin on Tuesday
A spokesman for Wright told Daily Mail Australia on Monday that the star strongly denies doing anything wrong over what he described as a tragic accident.
“What happened was a tragic accident that took the life of a close friend,” the spokesman said.
His immediate concern after the accident was the condition of the two team members on board at the time.
“The next priority was to ensure that the other helicopters and team members at the site were not at risk and that the site was safe.
“Matt will not make any further statement.
The order comes days after Wright’s wife Kaia welcomed the birth of their second child, daughter Dusty Faith, on Nov. 18.
The couple had recently moved from the Northern Territory
Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) died in February when the helicopter he was hanging from collided with trees and crashed in western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
Matt Wright is being charged following an extensive police investigation into the crash (pictured) that killed his co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson
Wright recently made his first public comments about the fatal crash and how he still struggles to speak out about the death of his close friend.
“It’s still pretty fresh,” Wright said express.nl. “Maybe in time, you know … I’ll explain.”
The crocodile hunter claimed his friends were “doing another job with another pilot.”
“Unfortunately, the machine failed and Willow was killed. So it’s taken a terrible toll this year.”
A preliminary analysis of the location by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau earlier this year indicated that the crash occurred when the helicopter’s main rotor blade struck and severed a tree trunk several times before the aircraft touched the ground.
Initial assessments indicated that the engine had stopped before the helicopter impacted the ground.
Investigation found no defects that would cause the engine to stop and there was no visible damage to the tail rotor blades and propulsion system.
Matt Wright (left), pictured with his wife Kaia and son Banjo, must be present at a police station in Darwin at 9am on Wednesday
An initial ATSB report said the investigations “revealed no engine defects likely to result in engine shutdown.”
The ATSB’s final report, due for publication at the end of this year, has been delayed.
The results of the report are expected to be released in the first quarter of next year, while NT police investigations are ongoing.
Wright became a household name over a decade ago as a star of National Geographic Channel series Outback Wrangler, which has since aired in nearly 100 countries.
His new series Wild Croc Territory aired on Channel Nine earlier this year and has since been shown on Netflix with a second series scheduled for 2023.
Matt Wright (right) recently, Mr Wilson’s (centre) death was ‘still quite fresh’. The pair were cast members on the TV series Outback Wrangler with Jono Brown (left)