June 17, 2024

Herbert Wigwe dies in US helicopter crash

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The co-founder of Nigeria’s biggest bank, Herbert Wigwe has died in a helicopter crash in the United States along with his wife and son, his company said on Sunday.

Apparently, Access Bank Group CEO Herbert Wigwe was killed when the aircraft crashed in California on Friday, Access Holdings said in a statement.

“Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States,” it said. “The entire Access family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen, and Chizi.”

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US authorities said two crew members and four passengers were killed. Additionally, Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said former Nigeria Stock Exchange president Abimbola Ogunbanjo was among the dead, calling the crash “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”

“The President condoles with the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident,” his spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.

Furthermore, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said “a Eurocopter EC 130 helicopter crashed near Nipton, California, around 10 p.m. local time on Friday, Feb. 9. Six people were on board.”

World Trade Organization director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on social media she was “terribly saddened by the news of the terrible loss of Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO of Access Bank, his wife and son, as well as Bimbo Ogunbanjo, in a helicopter crash.”.

The bank praised Wigwe, who became deputy managing director in 2002, as a “key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise.”.

About 90 minutes after the charter flight took off, “the helicopter impacted the terrain south of I-15 near Halloran Springs, California,” about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northeast of the city of Barstow, Graham told reporters.

In conclusion, US National Transportation Safety Board member Michael Graham told a press briefing on Saturday that the helicopter had departed from Palm Springs, California, on the way to Boulder City, Nevada.

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