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US Gives New Details on the Cause of the Helicopter Crash That Involved Herbert Wigwe, Wife, and Son

Herbert Wigwe

On Saturday, February 24, the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) declared that it had obtained the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States regarding the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the former Group CEO of Access Holdings, along with his spouse, son, and two additional individuals.

In a statement released in Lagos, Bimbo Oladeji, the NSIB’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, acknowledged the admission.

The horrific incident, which involved an Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 in Halloran Springs, California, occurred on February 9.

Preliminary investigations indicate that bad weather caused the helicopter to catch fire before the crash, resulting in catastrophic damage.

Speaking on the NTSB report, Oladeji said:

“The preliminary report on the Airbus Helicopter EC130B4, registered as N130CZ and operated by Orbic Air, LLC, under Part 135 regulations for on-demand flights, outlines crucial details surrounding the tragic incident.

“Departing from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, the helicopter journeyed to Boulder City Municipal Airport in Nevada via Palm Springs International Airport.

“However, during its flight, adverse weather conditions characterized by rain and a mix of snow were encountered, as reported by witnesses.

“Reports from law enforcement and eyewitnesses also indicated that several individuals travelling along Interstate 15 (I-15) observed a “fireball” in the area, prompting calls to emergency services.

“Subsequently, the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in the high, mountainous desert and scrub-brush-covered terrain near Halloran Springs, California.

“Analysis of the accident site revealed a scattered debris pattern about 300 ft along a 120° magnetic, indicating a trajectory from an initial impact point which was a 1.5 ft deep, 12 ft long and 10 ft wide ground crater.

“Containing fragments of the right landing gear skid, cockpit wiring, and cabin floor structure. The right skid step protruded upward at a 45° angle at the extreme eastern edge of the ground crater.

“All major helicopter components were identified at the accident site. The helicopter’s fuselage was fragmented, and the cockpit and cabin were destroyed.

“Some debris and vegetation displayed thermal damage, indicative of the extent of the collision’s force. The flight control tubes and linkages leading up to the flight control servos were fragmented and continuity could not be verified.

“All three pitch control links were attached at the swashplate and blade pitch change horns. The main rotor blades were fragmented and broomstrawed, and the blade sleeves and tips were present.

“Data analysis utilized sources including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data, operator personnel reports, and eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the flight path and sequence of events leading to the accident.”

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