Finding Michael FIRST LOOK: Spencer Matthews appears in powerful trailer for gut-wrenching documentary as he attempts to recover his late brother’s body after his death while climbing Mount Everest 23 years ago
- Spencer tried to find the body of his sibling who disappeared on Everest in 1999
- He climbed Everest with survivalist Bear Grylls and mountaineer Nirmal Purja
- Michael Matthews became the youngest Briton to reach the summit aged 22
Spencer Matthews attempts to retrace the steps of his older brother Michael with the help of survivalist Bear Grylls and record-breaking mountaineer Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja in the trailer clip for his documentary Finding Michael.
The Disney+ feature-length film details the emotional story of 34-year-old Spencer’s attempt to find the body of his brother who disappeared on Mount Everest in 1999.
Michael Matthews became the youngest Briton to reach the summit of Everest at the age of 22, but disappeared on the mountain just three hours later.
The trailer begins with former Made In Chelsea star Spencer looking at a picture of his brother wearing a red ski jacket, saying: ‘I hate the picture. All I see is a young man in the process of losing his life.’
He continued: ‘Michael was my big brother. 20 odd years later we are sent this photograph of a body, it looks like it could be Michael.
Emotional: Spencer Matthews, 34, tries to retrace the steps of his brother Michael with survivalist Bear Grylls and mountaineer Nirmal Purja in the trailer for Finding Michael (Spencer pictured in documentary)
Sibling: The Disney+ feature-length film details the emotional story of 34-year-old Matthews’ attempt to find the body of his brother who disappeared on Mount Everest in 1999 (Spencer’s brother Michael pictured)
‘My heart says we should go and find him. And if we can, bring him home.
‘We need the best people possible. We have one of the greatest, Nims Purja. We have to look all over the mountain.’
Spencer can be seen kissing his wife Vogue Williams, holding their new-born baby, who says: ‘God I hope you find him.’
She is later seen getting emotional while on a video call to Spencer who is out on the expedition.
World ’14 peak’ record holder Nirmal Purja leads the 10-man search crew armed with drones and the trailer shows the crew as they face unexpected and extreme challenges as well as intense time pressures when the weather closes in.
TV presenter and executive producer Bear says: ‘Stay safe. If you get hold of Mike, I hear his voice screaming that one loud.’
He later added: ‘On average, seven people every year of those attempting Everest will lose their lives.
‘No mountain is worth dying for a second time over.’
Mission: World ’14 peak’ record holder Nirmal Purja (right) leads the 10-man search crew armed with drones and the trailer shows the crew as they face extreme challenges
Extreme: TV presenter and executive producer Bear (pictured) says: ‘On average, seven people every year of those attempting Everest will lose their lives’
Missing: Michael Matthews became the youngest Briton to reach the summit of Everest at the age of 22, but disappeared on the mountain just three hours later
Spencer retraced the ‘exact steps’ his sibling took when he died descending the world’s highest peak in 1999.
Michael is said to have got in trouble after beginning to make his way down the south descent through the ‘death zone’ on May 13, 1999.
He was the brother of Pippa Middleton’s husband, the racing driver turned hedge fund manager James Matthews, 47.
The experienced mountaineer, who had previously conquered Aconcagua, the Pyrenees and the Swiss Alps, was the 162nd person to die on Everest.
Michael’s body has never been recovered and his family have never been able to fully understand what happened to him.
But in the new documentary with Disney+, Spencer – who was only ten at the time of his death – embarks on a journey to find his brother’s body and bring it home.
He was said to have the backing of his parents and his brother James to create the ’emotional’ project.
He told Holly Rubenstein’s The Travel Diaries podcast: ‘I was aching to find out more about his death. I was 10 at the time. I remember thinking it was really unfair.
Brothers: TV personality Spencer was 10 years old when Michael (left next to sibling James) tragically died aged 22 – after becoming the youngest Brit to reach the peak in 1999
Project: During the film, Spencer undertook a ‘gut-wrenching’ mission to climb Mount Everest to find the body of his brother Michael
‘I always believed that I’d see him again and never took it on the chin that he was dead. I thought it was impossible. It never crushed me in the way it affected my parents and my brother.
‘We would read that you could recover bodies from Everest. I know now that you can fly helicopters into Camp 2. For people who don’t know Everest, that’s quite a big deal.
‘From base camp there is the Khumbu Icefall leading up to Camp 1. Then Camp 2 is at the end of a long plain right at the base of what you would think is the beginning of the climb.
‘It makes it easier to bring bodies down – I mean it is not easy – it requires a lot of manpower, but getting them to Camp 2 can be done and then helicopter back down.
‘I’ve always been uncomfortable with him being up there, especially in plain sight. Around 600 people a year summit Everest.
‘I’ve always been uncomfortable that he could be laying up there like some kind of tourist attraction but also on his own, away from us.
‘He died up there and his last thoughts will probably have been that he’s never going to see his family again. We have not seen his body and I set off to go to Everest and find him and bring him home.’
Spencer trekked to South Base Camp base camp via Namche Bazaar, a town in north-eastern Nepal, often the staging point for expeditions to and other Himalayan peaks.
He made the journey just five days after the birth of his son Otto after a ‘weather window’ made scaling the mountain feasible.
Spencer would have otherwise been left facing another year of waiting to begin the search, revealing that he had the backing of his wife Vogue.
Huge task: Spencer retraced the ‘exact steps’ his sibling took when he died descending the world’s highest peak in 1999
Tragic: Michael is said to have got in trouble after beginning to make his way down the south descent through the ‘death zone’ on May 13, 1999
Loss: He was the brother of Pippa Middleton’s husband, the racing driver turned hedge fund manager James Matthews, 47.
The South Base Camp is at an altitude of 5,364 metres.
Describing the trek, he said: ‘You don’t have to be superman to do it. You come across this town [Namche Bazaar] in the sky. It’s amazing. It’s above the clouds. It reminded me of Asgard.
‘Part of the film is that we retrace the exact steps that Mike and his friends took. We stay in the same places and do the same path as he did. It’ll be a really powerful and amazing film’.
Finding Michael, directed by Tom Beard, is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 3.
On air: Finding Michael, directed by Tom Beard, is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 3 this year
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