Who was Mathew Farrell? BBC and Dicsovery filmmaker dies in plane crash aged 42
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: Mathew Farrell, 42, a well-known Australian filmmaker, died when the small plane he was flying crashed in a wilderness area in the highlands of Victoria. Farrell, who had worked for ABC, BBC, and Discovery channel, had been reportedly residing in Tawong, in Victoria's northeast, with his fiancee Karen Waller. It has come to light that Farrell left Mount Beauty's airfield on Sunday morning, September 19, with the intention of traveling to Wollongong. Communication was lost with the aircraft at 12:41 pm while it was traveling over the Lucyvale region near Tallangatta in northeast Victoria.
Just 70 kilometers into the trip, his jet was discovered at the site. Farrell was reportedly an experienced paraglider and had studied aviation since he was a teenager, but he had only recently purchased the plane and acquired his pilot's license. According to Herald Sun, Mark Bland, the manager of Mount Beauty Airport, said that he saw Farrell's plane take off without any problems. He said, “He struck me as quite alert, sort of competent sort of person, he knew what he was doing. From the forecast, I was planning to fly earlier that morning, and I decided not too because of the forecast that I’d seen was quite, a lot of rain.”
A desperate search was sparked after Farrell‘s light plane did not arrive at its scheduled destination in NSW after departing Mount Beauty Airport at around noon. Around 10 am on Monday, September 20, rescuers discovered the wreckage of the plane and Farrell's body in the dense forest close to Lucyvale. Senior Sergeant Shane Martin of Victoria Police described the area where the jet had been as being highly mountainous and densely populated. “(There’s) lots of trees, logging area, logging tracks, so yeah very dense where it’s been located,” he added.
After the death of the veteran filmmaker, many have extended condolences. Among those, The star of ‘Home and Away’, Bonnie Sveen, posted a homage to the filmmaker and called him a ‘kind, big-hearted person.’ She wrote on her Instagram, “What a horrible shock to lose him so young. Rest easy Mat... and thank you for all you shared with the world.” Mathew Farrell's friend Sophie Ballagh wrote, “Mat was so much more to us than a brilliant film editor - a grounded and beautiful soul, a sounding board, an adventure buddy, a respected colleague, and a dear, dear friend. We are grateful for the time we were granted with this exceptional human and this film will forever be a tribute to him.”
According to the Daily Mail, the Tasmanian division of the Australian Cinematographers Society also expressed grief in a statement, which reads, “On behalf of all ACS Tasmania members, we are shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic passing of Mathew Farrell. We pass on our deepest condolences to Mat's family, his fiancé Kaz, his friends, and his 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."