A tragic helicopter crash has resulted in the deaths of six individuals, including the CEO of one of Nigeria's largest banks, Herbert Wigwe, his family, and a top stock exchange executive. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department confirmed that the crash occurred on Friday night near Baker, in the Mojave Desert. The identities of the two pilots have not been released.
Today, we bid farewell to a visionary leader, @HerbertOWigwe, whose passion and unwavering commitment to excellence transformed Access into a global powerhouse.— Access Bank Plc (@myaccessbank) February 11, 2024
His legacy of excellence and compassion will continue to inspire us all.
Rest in peace, Herbert Wigwe. Your impact… pic.twitter.com/Hmatx5aT9D
The helicopter, an Airbus EC-130, was en route to Boulder City, Nevada from Palm Springs Airport when it went down shortly after 10 p.m. near Interstate 15. The crash, which happened east of the freeway near Halloran Springs Road, was to devastatingly end the lives of all on board only about an 80-mile drive from Las Vegas, according to Abc7.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization, announced Wigwe's passing in a post on social media. Wigwe was also mourned by Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who expressed his sorrow saying, "Their passing is an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension," in a post, as per FOX 11.
The NTSB and the FAA are jointly investigating to fully determine the cause of the crash. Michael Graham of the NTSB stated, "This is the beginning of a long process. We will not jump to any conclusions," in his update on the investigation as reported by Abc7. Witnesses have reported that adverse weather conditions, including rain and a "wintry mix," may have contributed to the crash. The helicopter, notably was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder, which the NTSB says was not a requirement.
The crash comes just days after a separate incident, where a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crashed during heavy rainstorms, claiming the lives of five Marines, per Hoodline.