6 dead, including CEO of Nigerian bank and his family, in helicopter crash in California

The crash was reported around 10 p.m. Friday near Nipton, California.

February 13, 2024, 5:00 PM

A helicopter carrying six people, including the CEO of a Nigerian bank, crashed in California's Mojave Desert, killing all people on board, officials said.

The two crew members and four passengers departed from Palm Springs, California, at 8:45 p.m. Friday and were en route to Boulder City, Nevada, about 26 miles outside of Las Vegas, officials said.

The San Bernardino County Coroner identified the victims Tuesday as Herbert O. Wigwe, 57; Doreen C. Wigwe, 56; Herbert C. Wigwe, 29; Abimbola O. Ogunbanjo, 61; Blake R. Hansen, 22; and Benjamin D. Pettingill, 29.

The elder Herbert Wigwe was the CEO of Nigeria's Access Bank and was killed in the crash alongside his wife and his son, said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organization and former finance minister of Nigeria.

Ogunbanjo was the former chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, according to a posting on the stock exchange's website.

A meteorologist was working to analyze exact weather conditions to confirm local witness reports of rain and a "wintery mix" including snow, Michael Graham, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters Saturday.

The Eurocopter EC-130 helicopter didn't have a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder, nor was it required to, according to Graham.

The NTSB said an investigation was underway.

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