CEO of large Nigerian bank among 6 killed in helicopter crash

Herbert Wigwe

BAKER, Calif. — A helicopter went down overnight in San Bernardino County, California, with six people on board. Police said there were no survivors.

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The Federal Aviation Association said that the Eurocopter EC130 helicopter went down around 10 p.m. Friday, according to KTLA.

CEO of major Nigerian bank among victims

Update 6:37 p.m. EST Feb. 10: Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of one of Nigeria’s largest banks by assets, was one of the six people killed in Friday’s helicopter crash, The Associated Press and the San Bernardino Sun reported.

His death was confirmed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization and formerly Nigeria’s finance minister, on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Wigwe was the co-founder of Access Bank, the Sun reported. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, who was president of the National Council of the Nigeria Stock Exchange from 2017 to 2021, and served as the group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc from 2021 to 2022, was confirmed dead by a family member, according to the Sun.

“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,” Okonjo-Iweala tweeted. “My deepest sympathies and condolences to the Wigwe family, the Ogunbanjo family, Access Bank Group employees and Management @myaccessbank and my younger Brother Herbert’s partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.”

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original report: It took off just before 9 p.m. from the Palm Springs Airport, KABC reported. It was heading to Boulder City, Nevada.

The helicopter went down just east of Interstate 15 near Nipton, located close to the California-Nevada border, KTLA reported.

Orbic Air is a tour company that the helicopter is registered to, according to KTTV.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find any survived, KABC reported.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating the crash, the news outlet reported. NTSB is expected to send a team out to the crash site, according to The Associated Press.

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