Witnesses reported a “wintry mix” of rain, as well as a fire on the helicopter along with downed power lines.
Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank, one of the largest and most ambitious banks in Nigeria, died in a helicopter crash in the Mojave Desert in Southern California on Feb. 9 along with his wife, his son, and three others. Bamofin Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former chair of NGX Group, the Nigerian stock exchange, also perished in the crash. According to The Huffington Post, the death of Wigwe sent shock waves across Nigeria.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance minister and current director-general of the World Trade Organization, wrote on Twitter/X, “Terribly saddened by the news of the terrible loss of Herbert Wigwe … his wife and son as well as Bimbo Ogunbanjo in a helicopter crash. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.”
Terribly saddened by the news of the terrible loss of Herbert Wigwe , Group CEO Access Bank @HerbertOWigwe , his wife and son as well as Bimbo Ogunbanjo in a helicopter crash. My deepest sympathies and condolences to the Wigwe family, the Ogunbanjo family, Access Bank Group…— Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) February 10, 2024
Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s minister of aviation and aerospace development expressed his sorrow on Twitter/X, writing, “This is surreal and I am lost for words.” Keyamo continued, “May Almighty God comfort his aged parents and sibling … his immediate family members, his staff, friends across Nigeria and dependents.”
Nigerian presidential spokesman Bayo Onanuga wrote on Twitter/X that the death of Wigwe was “a terrible blow” for the banking industries of Nigeria and Africa as a whole, before saying “Wigwe had a big vision to make Access Holdings (the parent company) Africa’s biggest, with all the unquenchable thirst for acquisitions.”
The reported tragic loss of my friend, brother and not-far-away neighbour in Lagos, Herbert Wigwe, the co-founder of Access Bank, the CEO of Access Holdings and the founder of Wigwe University, is very devastating. He was in my office earlier this week (where we took the pictures… pic.twitter.com/3nlXhEFPfQ— Festus Keyamo, SAN, CON, FCIArb (UK) (@fkeyamo) February 10, 2024
The death of Herbert Wigwe is a terrible blow for Nigeria and Africa’s banking industry. Wigwe had a big vision to make Access Holdings Africa’s biggest, with all the unquenchable thirst for acquisitions. He also made a mark in his community, by building a university, that he… pic.twitter.com/9uZdd8wfcV— Bayo Onanuga (@aonanuga1956) February 11, 2024
Michael Graham from the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident, said that the crash occurred south of I-15, 75 miles northeast of Barstow, CA. Graham told the Huffington Post that he did not have any information about the crew, but the aircraft was not equipped with a voice recorder in the cockpit, or a flight data recorder, nor was the aircraft required to have them.
According to Graham, the NTSB is investigating the crash. “This is the beginning of a long process. We will not jump to any conclusions,” Graham said during a news conference. Graham also gave his sympathy to the families and loved ones, saying that the organization “expressed our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.”
Source: Black Enterprise