Herbert Wigwe: Chopper caught fire after crash – US NTSB

A board member of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Michael Graham, has said the helicopter in which Herbert Wigwe was travelling caught fire after it crashed.
Michale Graham of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) addressed a press conference on February 10, 2024. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT/YOUTUBE/NTSB

A board member of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Michael Graham, has said the helicopter in which Herbert Wigwe was travelling caught fire after it crashed.

Wigwe, Access Bank’s group CEO, was travelling with his wife, Doreen, son, Chizi, and Bimbo Ogunbanjo, a former chairman of the NGX, from Palm Springs Airport to Boulder City, Nevada when the accident occurred.

About 90 minutes after the charter flight took off, “the helicopter impacted the terrain south of I-15 near Halloran Springs, California,” about 75 miles (120 kilometres) northeast of the city of Barstow, Graham told reporters.

He confirmed that six persons, including two crew members, died in the crash.

“As far as we know…there was fire when the aircraft did contact the terrain,” the NTSB board member said at a press conference.

He explained that witnesses said there “was rain with wintry mix” when the accident occurred.

Graham, however, warned that investigators were still working on determining the exact weather at the time of the crash.

“This is the beginning of a long process. We will not jump to any conclusions,” Graham said

“A Eurocopter EC 130 helicopter crashed near Nipton, California, around 10 pm local time on Friday, Feb. 9. Six people were on board,” the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on its website, without naming the victims.

The FAA said there would be an investigation.

Graham warned that it could take up to 24 months to produce a final report on the investigation.

“The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman,” Access Bank said on Sunday.

“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.”

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