Helicopter crash in California kills Nigerian bank CEO and family

Nipton, California - A tourist helicopter crashed near California's border with Nevada late Friday, reportedly killing the CEO of a major Nigerian bank and his family.

Herbert Wigwe (r.), CEO of Nigeria's Access Bank Group, was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Saturday.
Herbert Wigwe (r.), CEO of Nigeria's Access Bank Group, was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Saturday.  © Credit Theo Wargo / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the two crew members and four passengers on board the aircraft were killed in the accident.

One of them was Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank Group, who was confirmed dead by World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in a post on X.

His wife and son also died, as did former Nigeria Stock Exchange group chairman Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

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The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter crashed around 10 PM PT near the city of Nipton, located on the edge of the Mojave Desert Preserve.

The aircraft, the Eurocopter EC-130, is registered to a Burbank-based tour company called Orbic Air. According to the company’s website, it "offers the finest in helicopter rides, helicopter tours, and helicopter charters in Los Angeles."

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

The incident comes just days after a helicopter carrying five marines disappeared while flying back from a training session at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego to Creech Air Force Base, just northwest of Las Vegas, according to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Civilian authorities located the chopper Wednesday around 9 AM in Pine Valley, a mountainous area some 30 miles east of the San Diego station. All five Marines have since been pronounced dead.

Cover photo: Credit Theo Wargo / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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