Access Bank founder Herbert Wigwe dies in helicopter crash in California
Access Bank founder, Herbert Wigwe reportedly dies in helicopter crash in California

Access Bank founder Herbert Wigwe dies in chopper crash in California

Herbert Wigwe, the co-founder of Access Bank and the founder of Wigwe University has died in a helicopter crash in California in the United States.


Wigwe was also the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Access Holdings, the parent company of Access Bank.

The Access Bank founder Herbert Wigwe was on board the chopper with his wife, son and three other passengers.

The chopper was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed near a border city between Nevada and California on Friday night [Feb 9].

The US government confirmed all on board dead as no survivors have been located as of Saturday morning.

The helicopter was carrying six people when it crashed on Friday night near the California-Nevada border.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration said that the Eurocopter EC130 helicopter crashed around 10:00 pm local time, near Nipton, California, an unincorporated community about 60 miles south of Las Vegas in eastern San Bernardino County.

According to Mara Rodriguez, a public information officer with the department, officials at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were made aware of the downed aircraft at 10:12 pm, local time.

She added that the scene of the crash was determined to be east of Interstate 15, near Halloran Springs Road.

The New York Times has confirmed the incident but did not name the passengers.

Access Bank confirms death of Group CEO, Dr. Herbert Wigwe

"Today, we bid farewell to a visionary leader, Herbert Wigwe, whose passion and unwavering commitment to excellence transformed Access into a global powerhouse.

"His legacy of excellence and compassion will continue to inspire us all.

"Rest in peace, Herbert Wigwe. Your impact will forever be felt," a statement issued by Access Bank read.

Helicopter carrying 6 people crashes in California desert near Las Vegas

In a separate development, the USA today reports that a helicopter carrying six people crashed in a Southern California desert late Friday, the latest in a number of high-profile aviation disasters in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Saturday that together with the National Transportation Safety Board, they were investigating a Eurocopter EC 130 helicopter that crashed around 10 p.m. Friday near Nipton, California.

San Bernardino Sheriff's Department officials told KABC-TV that they have not been able to locate any survivors and the cause of the crash is unknown.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department didn't immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.

Nipton is located near the California-Nevada border, near Las Vegas.

The crash follows two deadly aviation disasters in recent days.

At least two people were killed Friday afternoon when a small plane that had lost both its engines crashed into a vehicle on a Florida interstate as the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing, authorities said.

And earlier this week, five U.S. Marines died after a military helicopter went down in the mountains near San Diego.

Many aviation disasters have happened in California

Southern California is a busy hub for military and small aircraft and has a long history of aviation tragedies and near-disasters.


In June 2022, three military aircraft crashes occurred in Southern California in the span of a week.

U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock was killed on June 3 when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed near Trona.

Days later, five Marines on an MV-22B Osprey died when the aircraft crashed in a California desert near the Arizona border during training.

A Navy helicopter crashed in the same region and all four crew members survived.


In July, six people died after a Cessna C550 crashed near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta, California. It happened just days after a 39-year-old man was killed and three children were injured near the same airport.

This past January, a Navy helicopter crashed off the coast of Coronado, California with all six aboard surviving.

Jack Cress, an instructor in the Aviation Safety & Security Programme at the University of Southern California and a former helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps said that while the Southern California's mountainous terrain and weather events like the atmospheric river can pose a challenge for pilots, the high traffic likely contributes to the number of accidents.

"Accident rates may be a little bit higher in California than others, but I would assume if it's the case, it would most likely be because of volume more than anything else," said Cress.


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