Tragic Helicopter Crash: CEO of Major Nigerian Bank and Others Killed | World News

Feb 11, 2024



ceo The head of one of Nigeria's largest banks died Friday along with his wife and son when the helicopter they were in crashed near Interstate 15 in Southern California's Mojave Desert.
Herbert Wigwe, Chief Executive access bankBamofin Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange NGX Group, was among the six people on board when the plane crashed shortly after 10 p.m.
His death was confirmed on Saturday by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's former finance minister who is now director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
Okonjo-Iweala wrote in a post on ” “May the souls of the departed rest in complete peace.”
The death of Wigwe, 57, shocked many in Nigeria and the banking sector. He was widely viewed as an industry leader, managing two of the nation's largest banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, where he was the first executive director.
Under Wigwe's leadership, Access Bank's assets and presence grew beyond borders into several African countries.
His death is “a terrible blow” to Nigeria and Africa's banking industry, Nigerian presidential spokesman Bio Onanuga wrote on Twitter. “Wigwe had a big vision of making Access Holdings (the parent company) the biggest company in Africa, with all the unquenchable thirst for acquisitions.” Onanuga said.
Wigwe's interest also extended to the field of education. His private university, established in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region not far from where he lived, is scheduled to open in September. Last year he said university was “an opportunity for me to give back to the community.”
“This is unreal and I have no words,” Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s minister of aviation and aerospace development, wrote in a post on X. , friends and dependents throughout Nigeria.”
The crash happened near Halloran Springs Road east of I-15 and not far from the California-Nevada border. Halloran Springs Road crosses the highway in an area known to travelers for an abandoned gas station with signs saying “Take Gas” and “Eat”.
It is a remote area of ​​the desert, at an elevation of about 3,000 feet (914.40 m), and about 60- to 80-miles (100- to 130 kilometers) from Las Vegas. California Highway Patrol logs show that it was raining and snowing in the area at the time of the accident.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department would not confirm whether anyone had died or how many people were on the helicopter, but said in an emailed statement that it had found no survivors and that coroner's investigators were at the scene.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the helicopter, a Eurocopter EC 120, was carrying six people. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB said investigators would arrive Saturday and begin gathering information.
KABC-TV reported that the helicopter took off from Palm Springs Airport around 8:45 p.m. and was headed to Boulder City, Nevada. Boulder City is about 26 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas, where the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are set to play in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.
The crash came just three days after a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crashed into the mountains outside San Diego during historic rainfall, killing five Marines.



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