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Outback Wrangler TV star Matt Wright on his way to Darwin to face charges over helicopter crash

Reality television personality Matt Wright will be charged with a string of offences within hours over a helicopter crash that tragically killed one of his best mates earlier this year.

An arrest warrant was issued for The Outback Wrangler star yesterday, following an extensive police investigation into the crash that killed his co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson, 34, in February.

Wright, 43, was spotted with his wife Kaia and their newborn daughter Dusty Faith passing through the security gates at Sydney Airport on Tuesday morning.

He is boarding a Qantas flight to Darwin after detectives issued the arrest warrant and gave him a 48-hour deadline to present himself to a Northern Territory police station.

He will be charged with at least six offences, including perverting the course of justice, destruction of evidence, fabricating evidence, interfering with witnesses, unlawful entry and making a false statement.

Wright has since strenuously denied any wrongdoing over what he described as a tragic accident.

Wilson was collecting crocodile eggs in a remote area of west Arnhem Land when the helicopter he was attached to crashed on February 28.

The married father of two young sons had been connected to the Robinson R44 helicopter by a 30-metre line and harness before the chopper collided with a tree and crashed in 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 spinal injuries.

Police will allege Wright tampered with evidence at the crash site as fresh new claims emerged of events before and after the fatal crash.

It’s understood minutes before the crash that claimed his life, Wilson took a photo of the fuel gauge showing the chopper’s almost full tank, which he then shared in a WhatsApp group chat.

Wilson’s mobile phone then allegedly went missing from the crash site, The Australian reported.

The photo conflicts Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s preliminary report, which revealed that investigators only drained about 250ml of blue fuel from the main tank’s bladder after the crash despite the two fuel bladder tanks still being intact.

It’s understood unlawful entry charges relate to Wright entering Mr Robinson’s home and his helicopter hangar without permission.

They will also allege Wright visited Mr Robinson in the hospital twice after the crash to try to get him to falsify records relating to the helicopter involved in the crash and to delete evidence from his mobile phone.

It’s understood police have 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 offences in relation to the crash.

A spokesman for Wright told Daily Mail Australia on Monday the star strenuously denies any wrongdoing over what he described as a tragic accident.

‘What happened was a tragic accident that took the life of a close mate,’ the spokesman said.

‘His 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.

The warrant comes days after Wright’s wife Kaia welcomed the birth of their second child, a daughter Dusty Faith on November 18.

Chris 'Willow' Wilson (pictured) died in February when the helicopter he was hanging from collided with trees and crashed in west Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory

Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) died in February when the helicopter he was hanging from collided with trees and crashed in west Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory

Matt Wright will be charged following an extensive police investigation in relation to the crash (pictured)  that killed his co-star Chris 'Willow' Wilson

 Matt Wright will be charged following an extensive police investigation in relation to 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 about the death of his close mate.

‘It’s still pretty fresh,’ Wright told express.co.uk. ‘Maybe in time, you know… I’ll explain.’

The crocodile wrangler claimed his friends were ‘out doing another job with another pilot’.

‘Unfortunately, the machine went down and Willow was killed in the process. So, it’s taken a horrible toll this year.’

A preliminary Australian Transport Safety Bureau analysis of the site earlier this year indicated the crash occurred when the helicopter’s main rotor blade struck and cut through a tree trunk multiple times before the aircraft hit the ground.

Initial assessments found that the engine had stopped prior to the helicopter colliding with the ground.

An examination found no defects likely to cause the engine to stop and there was no visible damage to the tail rotor blades and drive system.

Matt Wright (left), pictured with wife Kaia and son Banjo has been ordered to present to a police station in Darwin by 9am Wednesday

Matt Wright (left), pictured with wife Kaia and son Banjo has been ordered to present to a police station in Darwin by 9am Wednesday

An initial ATSB report said that its examinations ‘did not identify defects of the engine likely to result in engine stoppage’. 

The ATSB’s final report, due to be published at the end of the 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 more than a decade ago as the star of National Geographic Channel series Outback Wrangler, which has since been aired in almost 100 countries. 

His new series Wild Croc Territory aired on Channel Nine earlier this year and has since been screened on Netflix with a second series planned for 2023.

Matt Wright (right) recently the death of Mr Wilson (centre) was 'still pretty fresh'. The pair were cast members on the Outback Wrangler TV series with Jono Brown (left)

Matt Wright (right) recently the death of Mr Wilson (centre) was ‘still pretty fresh’. The pair were cast members on the Outback Wrangler TV series with Jono Brown (left)

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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