**Tragic Helicopter crash Claims Lives of Prominent Nigerian Bank Executive and Others**
Federal investigators are currently on the scene of a devastating helicopter crash that occurred in the desert, 75 miles northeast of Barstow, California. The incident resulted in the loss of six lives, including a high-ranking executive from a Nigerian bank, his wife and son, as well as the former chair of the Nigerian Exchange Group.
The Airbus Eurocopter EC130 helicopter, operated by Burbank-based Orbit Air, LLC, crashed at approximately 10:08 p.m. on Friday, just a quarter-mile east of Interstate 15 near Halloran Springs Road. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Member Michael Graham provided an update on the recovery efforts, stating that all major components of the helicopter, such as the main rotor blades, transmission, tail rotor, and avionics, have been located at the crash site.
According to NTSB flight-tracking data, the helicopter was flying along I-15 at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet above ground. As the flight neared its end, the helicopter made a slight right turn, veering south of the interstate. It then began descending gradually and increasing its ground speed before the flight data abruptly ended about a quarter-mile from the wreckage. Graham described the impact as a nose-low, right-bank angle.
Weather conditions at the time of the crash were a topic of interest for investigators. Witnesses and NTSB meteorologists reported rain and wintery mist in the area, which may have played a role in the accident. Graham confirmed that the NTSB will be examining media reports of downed power lines in the vicinity.
The NTSB’s investigation into the crash is expected to be a lengthy process, taking anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete. In the meantime, the wreckage will be transported to a secure location for further examination.
The individuals on board the ill-fated helicopter have been identified as Dr. Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, the Group CEO of Access Bank in Nigeria, along with his wife and son. Also among the victims was Abimbola Ogunbanjoa, the former chair of the Nigerian Exchange Group. The names of the pilot and co-pilot have not yet been released.
News of the tragic accident has sent shockwaves through Nigeria’s financial sector and beyond. Condolences and prayers have poured in from individuals and organizations, including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, and Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State in Nigeria.
As the investigation continues, the focus will be on understanding the circumstances surrounding this devastating event and ensuring that any potential safety issues are addressed to prevent similar incidents in the future.