The CEO of a Nigerian Bank and Their Family Were Among The Six Individuals Who Tragically Lost Their Lives In A Helicopter Crash in California

Nigerian bank CEO and family among six killed in California helicopter crash

Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank, along with his wife and son, tragically died in a crash, along with a former group chairman of Nigeria’s stock exchange

Authorities have verified that the CEO of Nigeria’s largest bank, accompanied by his wife and son, were among the six individuals who perished in a helicopter crash on Friday night in an isolated region of the Mojave Desert, near the California-Nevada border.

The crash claimed the lives of Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe, his wife Doreen Chizoba, and their son Chizi, along with the former group chairman of Nigeria’s stock exchange, Abimola Ogunbanjo. These identities were first revealed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organization, in a post on X.

Access Bank officials also confirmed their identities.

On Friday around 8:45 PM, the helicopter departed from Palm Springs airport in California and was heading to Boulder City, Nevada, approximately 26 miles (41 km) southeast of Las Vegas. It’s noteworthy that Boulder City is hosting this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday. Reports indicate that the aircraft involved was an Airbus Helicopters EC-130.

Around 10:10 PM on Friday night, authorities from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were informed of the crash. All six individuals aboard, including two helicopter pilots, were reported dead. However, their identities were not yet disclosed.

Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are conducting investigations to determine the cause of the crash.

As per CNN, investigators planned to revisit the crash site on Sunday to document it using a drone. Witnesses reported the helicopter catching fire after the crash, with weather conditions at the time including rain and wintry mix.

“I am shocked and deeply distressed by the news of the passing of Mr Herbert Wigwe, a distinguished banker, humanitarian, and entrepreneur, and Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group … along with members of the Wigwe family – Herbert’s wife, [Doreen] Chizoba, and son, Chizi,” Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said in a statement. “Their passing is an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension. I extend my condolences to the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident.”

As per information provided on Access Bank’s website, Mr. Herbert Wigwe took on the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in 2014, following his employment with the bank beginning in 2002. Access Bank is recognized as the largest bank in Nigeria.

“In a post on X in January 2024, Wigwe expressed, “Today and always, let us remember that life is a precious gift – a chance to breathe, feel, love, experience, and connect. Let’s honor this gift by living with purpose, kindness, and gratitude, making every moment count. Let us number our days.”

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