Filmmaker Mathew Farrell had marriage papers for fiancee Karen Waller in Victorian Alps plane crash

Tragic twist in death of Australian filmmaker as it’s revealed he had his marriage papers in his pocket when his plane crashed in remote wilderness ahead of his wedding

  • Mathew Farrell died when the plane he was piloting crashed into remote bush
  • He bought plane with fiancee Kaz Waller last year after getting his pilot’s licence
  • He was carrying marriage papers and was on a flight to see Ms Waller’s father
  • Search was launched in bad weather when he failed to arrive in Wollongong 

An Australian filmmaker was carrying the marriage papers to wed his fiancee when he was killed in a light plane crash.

Mathew Farrell, 42, recently bought the Australian-made Jabiru 230D plane with wife-to-be and fellow pilot Kaz Waller after the TV cameraman gained his pilot’s licence last year.

He set off from Mount Beauty airport near the couple’s Tawonga home in northeast Victoria on Sunday to fly 420km to Wollongong to help his prospective father-in-law fix a roof.

In his pocket he was carrying the paperwork to marry Ms Waller, friends revealed – but never reached his destination, sparking a huge search.

Australian filmmaker Mathew Marrell who died in remote wilderness in Victoria's high country was carrying the marriage papers to wed his fiancee Kaz Waller when his light plane crashed

Australian filmmaker Mathew Marrell who died in remote wilderness in Victoria’s high country was carrying the marriage papers to wed his fiancee Kaz Waller when his light plane crashed

Rescuers found Mr Farrell’s body with the remains of the plane in dense bushland about 60km away, near Lucyvale in the Victorian Alps at 10am on Monday.

His grieving fiancee is being comforted by friends and family and has been flooded with messages of support and condolences.

She posted a haunting pic of Mr Farrell with their dog in the high country on social media in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

‘I call them the shiniest couple I’ve ever met, they were just so perfectly matched and amazing,’ close friend and collaborator Brad Harris told the ABC.

‘They were planning on getting married, he had the papers in the plane with him.

‘It’s a tragedy that she only got a year with him – they were just so perfectly suited, perhaps more than any couple I’ve ever met in my life.’ 

Fiancee Kaz Waller posted a haunting pic of Mathew Farrell with their dog in the high country on social media in the early hours of Wednesday morning

Fiancee Kaz Waller posted a haunting pic of Mathew Farrell with their dog in the high country on social media in the early hours of Wednesday morning

Mr Harris said the adventure-seeking ABC, BBC and Discovery channel TV veteran was an experienced aviator after years of paragliding.

He speculated that the weather may have turned worse than expected during the flight, with bad weather hampering the hunt for the missing plane on Sunday. 

‘He was a very thorough, very technically-minded kind of guy,’ Mr Harris said.

‘His aeronautical knowledge was pretty fantastic – he was a very, very good paraglider pilot and he flew model planes from when he was young and was always interested and involved in aviation.’

The Tasmanian’s passion for life took him from the deserts of Morocco to the tundra of the Antarctic, developing skills as a polar explorer, mountaineering guide, and zodiac boat driver.

‘He was an adventurer. He was used to taking risks and confronting risks and confronting fear, just like all outdoorsy people,’ Mr Harris added.

‘It’s something that you do and it’s very calculated – it’s not reckless.’

Mr Farrell recently worked on The Amazing Race for Channel Ten and joked online last month that he didn’t even own a working television to watch it.

Thrill-seeking film-maker Mathew Farrell has died after the light plane he was piloting crashed into remote wilderness in the Victorian High Country

Thrill-seeking film-maker Mathew Farrell has died after the light plane he was piloting crashed into remote wilderness in the Victorian High Country

Mathew Farrell, 42, had recently bought the Australian-made Jabiru 230D plane with wife-to-be and fellow pilot Kaz Waller after the TV cameraman gained his pilot's licence last year

Mathew Farrell, 42, had recently bought the Australian-made Jabiru 230D plane with wife-to-be and fellow pilot Kaz Waller after the TV cameraman gained his pilot’s licence last year

Former Home and Away star Bonnie Sveen, 32, who played Ricky Sharp on the TV soap, also paid tribute to her friend and former co-worker.

‘Tassie lost a kind, big-hearted person and filmmaker this week,’ she posted on Instagram.

‘Mat Farrell was a photographer, editor and man-of-many-hats – and pretty entrenched in the creative and media communities here.

‘I worked closely with him on the short film we made nearly two years ago, Life Lives On – an idea I had that simply wouldn’t have come to life without Mat’s generous time, input and passion.

‘He was the [director of photography] and editor. I thought (and hoped!) it was the first of many projects we’d get to work together on.

Adventure-junkie Mathew Farrell's friends and co-workers - including Home and Away star Bonnie Sveen - have hailed the Tasmanian's passion which took him from the deserts of Morocco to the polar tundra of the Antarctic

Adventure-junkie Mathew Farrell’s friends and co-workers – including Home and Away star Bonnie Sveen – have hailed the Tasmanian’s passion which took him from the deserts of Morocco to the polar tundra of the Antarctic

Bonnie Sveen, 32, - who played Ricky Sharp on Home and Away - posted a moving tribute to her friend on Instagram

Bonnie Sveen, 32, – who played Ricky Sharp on Home and Away – posted a moving tribute to her friend on Instagram

‘Sending love and strength to Mat’s fiancée and family and grieving friends. 

‘What a horrible shock to lose him so young. Rest easy Mat… and thank you for all you shared with the world. ‘

The former Hobart Mercury photographer was remembered by newspaper staff for his adventurous spirit which ’embraced life’.

‘Professionally he was an inspiration to work with, he was committed and passionate and dedicated to innovation,’ former Mercury Head of Vision Daniel Jupe said.

‘He worked across so many areas and in each not only excelled but created an environment which was a pleasure to work in for his colleagues. 

‘Mat was one of the most kind and generous people I have ever known.

‘He embraced life. He was adventurous yet thoughtful, he was passionate, calm, he was endlessly excitable yet completely giving.

‘He will be missed by so many people in Tasmania, interstate and overseas as he touched people in a way that not many can, and connected with people in a way we all wish we could.’

The former Hobart Mercury photographer was remembered by newspaper staff for his adventurous spirit which 'embraced life' - and whose skills also included being a paraglider, polar explorer, mountaineering guide and zodiac boat driver

The former Hobart Mercury photographer was remembered by newspaper staff for his adventurous spirit which ’embraced life’ – and whose skills also included being a paraglider, polar explorer, mountaineering guide and zodiac boat driver

The Australian Cinematographers Society in Tasmania spoke of its shock at his sudden death.

‘On behalf of all ACS Tasmania members, we are shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic passing of Mathew Farrell,’ the group wrote in a social media post.

‘We pass on our deepest condolences to Mat’s family, his fiancé Kaz, his friends and colleagues.

‘Mat will be very fondly remembered by many in his adopted state of Tasmania, especially in the film-making and media industries, where he was greatly respected.’

The Australian Cinematographers Society in Tasmania spoke of their shock at Mathew Farrell's sudden death

The Australian Cinematographers Society in Tasmania spoke of their shock at Mathew Farrell’s sudden death

A friend also paid tribute on Mr Farrell’s Facebook page.

‘Mathew, your passion for adventure was never far away from everything you did,’ his mate Monty BB posted.

‘Whether it was filming, hang-gliding, rock-climbing or out in the wilderness, you made it your own experience and we all came along for the ride!

‘We met many years ago through a mutual love of cycling. Thank you for all the joy you brought to everyone’s lives. You will be missed by so many.

‘My sincerest and heartfelt condolences to your family and those close to you.’

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