Croc wrangler's widow 'suffered nervous shock'

The widow of an Outback Wrangler star killed in a helicopter crash has accused the chopper's operating company and safety regulator of failing to protect him.

Chris Wilson plunged to his death in a remote area of the Northern Territory in February last year while attached to a helicopter owned by Outback Wrangler co-star Matt Wright.

Pilot Sebastian Robinson was critically injured in the crash.

Danielle Wilson is now suing Wright and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for alleged “wrongful acts or omissions” that caused or contributed to her husband's death, Federal Court documents provided to AAP have revealed.

She is seeking costs, damages, interest, interest on costs, and “such other order as the court sees fit” for the psychological harm caused by the conduct.

"(Ms Wilson) suffered nervous shock and or psychiatric harm and loss of maintenance and support of Mr Wilson during the course of his lifetime," Ms Wilson's application reads.

It comes barely a month after an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation found the chopper's engine stopped mid-flight due to a lack of fuel and that during the emergency landing, Mr Robinson released its hooks and sling line before crashing to the ground.

The investigation made damning findings against CASA, which granted Wright's company Helibrook an exemption to collect crocodile eggs using slings that were otherwise banned.

By 2017, most safety conditions limiting height, speed and exposure were removed by CASA, meaning Mr Wilson could be attached to the helicopter up to 30 metres.

The ATSB also made findings against Wright, with the report saying his helicopter company had a “long history of noncompliance” and the chopper had several engine defects.

Ms Wilson claims both CASA and Helibrook were negligent and breached their duty of care to her husband.

Her application says CASA breached its duty of care, in approving slinging operations without appropriate conditions, conducting appropriate risk assessments or conducting ongoing monitoring.

"Helibrook undertook no risk assessment of the slinging operation at all ... failed to engage suitable pilots and/or properly train pilots ... failed to ensure that pilots briefed the crew on the emergency procedures ... failed to ensure that VH-IDW was adequately maintained and its flying hours recorded (and) failed to have in place an appropriate safety culture."

Wright and his pilot Michael Burbidge were allegedly first on the scene of the crash, accompanied by former senior police officer Neil Mellon.

The three men were all later charged with perverting the course of justice and destroying evidence.

Wright will head to trial next year on the perverting the course of justice charge, while strenuously denying the allegations.

Earlier this month, Mellon pleaded guilty to destroying evidence, formally admitting to destroying a mobile phone on the day Mr Wilson was killed.

Burbidge, who was facing four charges, pleaded guilty to destroying evidence and had the other three charges withdrawn.

They are both set to be sentenced next year.

The civil charges facing Wright and CASA in the Federal Court will not be heard until next year.

Outback Wrangler was an adventure TV series filmed in remote Top End locations and screened in more than 90 countries.

The show chronicled the capture and transport of dangerous animals that posed a threat to people, including crocodiles and wild buffalo.

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