The CEO of a Nigerian bank and his family are among 6 people killed in a helicopter crash in California
The CEO of one of Nigeria’s largest banks was among the six people who died when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed on Friday evening in California, an official said.
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO of Lagos-based Access Bank, was on board the helicopter with his wife and son, and Bimbo Ogunbanjo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said in a post on X.
She did not mention the names of Wigwe’s wife and son.
Ogunbanjo, also known as Abimbola Ogunbanjo, is the former Chairman of NGX Group, the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The San Bernardino County Police Department said in a statement Saturday evening that all six people on board the plane had died. The victims have not been publicly identified.
The helicopter was reported to have crashed near Neptune, California, around 10:12 p.m. Friday, according to the police department and the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft was a model marketed as the Eurocopter EC130 and Airbus Helicopters H130.
Neptune is located about 65 miles south of Las Vegas, where the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs is scheduled to take place on Sunday.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, is scheduled to hold a press conference about the accident at 6 p.m. local time.
“The death of Roosevelt Herbert Wigwe represents a terrible blow to Nigeria and the banking industry in Africa,” said Bayo Onanuga, Spokesman and Special Advisor to Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu. He said on X.
“Wigwe had a big vision to make Access Holdings the largest company in Africa, with all the unquenchable thirst for acquisitions,” he continued, referring to the parent company of Access Bank.
Nigerian journalist and celebrity Sarva Joseph model She said on her social media accounts on Saturday that Wigwe was a friend and his loss is profound.
“He had an amazing impact on banking and finance, art, education and philanthropy,” she said. “He was intelligent and quick-witted, and was always a pleasure to be around.”
Temperatures in the area were above 20 degrees at the time of the accident, according to National Weather Service data. The winds were fairly light, at about 10 mph, but the winds began to move, and some were measured at 29 mph before sunrise Saturday, according to the weather service.
The California Highway Patrol reported shortly after the crash that a “large swath of snow” was moving through the nearby Halloran Springs area, southeast of Interstate 15, according to the traffic accident log. She added that the snow was moderate and mixed with rain.
The cause of the accident has not been determined.