Preliminary Reports Indicate Helicopter Was on Fire Before Herbert Wigwe’s Fatal Crash

Taiwo Ajayi
2 Min Read

Preliminary findings from the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) reveal alarming details about the helicopter crash that claimed the life of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, former Group CEO of Access Bank, and five others.

According to statements by Bimbo Oladeji, Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at NSIB, the bureau received initial reports from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shedding light on the tragic incident.

The crash, which occurred on February 9, involved an Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 in Halloran Springs, California. Initial investigations suggest that adverse weather conditions led to catastrophic damage to the helicopter, resulting in a fire before the crash.

Oladeji elaborated on the findings, stating, “Departing from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, the helicopter journeyed to Boulder City Municipal Airport in Nevada via Palm Springs International Airport. However, during its flight, adverse weather conditions characterized by rain and a mix of snow were encountered.”

Eyewitness accounts and reports from law enforcement revealed that witnesses along Interstate 15 (I-15) observed a “fireball” in the area, prompting calls to emergency services. Subsequently, the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in the high, mountainous desert terrain near Halloran Springs, California.

READ ALSO: Access Holdings Plc Names Ms. Bolaji Agbede as Acting Group CEO Following Tragic Loss of Dr. Herbert Wigwe

Analysis of the accident site indicated a scattered debris pattern, with fragments of the helicopter’s fuselage, cockpit, and cabin destroyed. Thermal damage to debris and vegetation suggested the extent of the collision’s force, with data analysis from various sources helping reconstruct the flight path and sequence of events leading to the accident.

As investigations continue, NSIB remains committed to collaborating with the NTSB for a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances surrounding the crash. The Director-General of NSIB, Capt. Alex Badeh, expressed appreciation for the cooperation extended by the NTSB and emphasized ongoing efforts to gather additional evidence and information.

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