6 dead, including Nigerian banker, in California helicopter crash

February 11, 2024

A prominent Nigerian banker and his family are among the six victims of a helicopter crash Friday night in Northern California that killed everyone on board, including the two pilots.

The aircraft was flying in wintry conditions from Palm Springs, California, to Boulder City, Nevada, when it crashed over the Mohave Desert around 10 p.m.

Witnesses described seeing the helicopter on fire at the site of the crash.

Herbert Wigwe, chief executive of Access Bank of Nigeria, and his wife and son were all killed in the crash, along with the two pilots and a prominent Nigerian lawyer.

Several Nigerian officials described the deaths as a "terrible loss" and a "terrible blow" to Nigeria and Africa's banking industry.

The helicopter was a private charter operated by Orbic Air. There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder on board, and the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.