Nigerian bank CEO and family among 6 died in California helicopter crash, trade official says


According to a World Trade Organization official, a helicopter crash that occurred late on Friday night in the Mojave Desert on the boundary between California and Nevada resulted in the deaths of six people. Among those who perished was the chief executive officer of a major Nigerian bank, along with his wife and son.

In a post on X, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stated that the crash claimed the lives of Herbert Wigwe, the chief executive officer of Access Bank, as well as his wife and son, and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

The authorities have reported that both of the pilots of the chopper were also killed in the accident.

According to Michael Graham, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the chartered Airbus EC130 helicopter was traveling from Palm Springs, California, to Boulder City, Nevada, which is located just outside of Las Vegas.

According to Graham, the aircraft, which was operated by Orbic Air, a charter firm based in California, took off at approximately 8:45 p.m. Pacific Time and crashed shortly after 10 p.m. in the vicinity of Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California.

The deaths were described as “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension,” according to a statement that was issued by the office of Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A statement made by Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State in Nigeria, indicated that he is “extremely shocked and devastated” and that the fatalities are a “irreparable loss.”

“Access Bank became an international brand that placed Nigeria on the global map of first-class financial services,” Obaseki said in a post on X. “Wigwe was a colossus in Nigeria’s financial sector,” Obaseki said. “Access Bank took Nigeria to the top of the global financial services map.”

Nigerian bank CEO and family among 6 died
Nigerian bank CEO and family among 6 died in California chopper crash. (Photo: Pluse News)

According to the website of the company, Wigwe was promoted to the position of Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank in the year 2014.

An indelible impression has been made on Access Holdings and the communities that we serve as a result of Herbert’s visionary leadership and unrelenting commitment to social impact programs. In a statement that was published on X, the bank explained that “his legacy will never be forgotten.”

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Graham has stated that investigators will return to the crash location on Sunday in order to finish documenting the site. This will include the use of a drone in order to build an aerial map of the collision site.

He made a request that anyone who saw the collision get in touch with the National Transportation Safety Board and give any photographs or videos that they had of the occurrence.

According to Graham, a preliminary investigation report will be made public in the coming weeks; however, it is possible that the whole investigation will take as long as two years before a final report is issued.


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