Wigwe: US Authorities break silence on helicopter crash


United States authorities on Sunday said preliminary reports suggest that a wintry weather condition was among the factors that contributed to the chopper crash that killed the Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

Wigwe, along with his wife and son, was aboard the helicopter when it crashed near the Nevada border in California on Friday.

Also among the passengers was Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairperson of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.

During a media briefing held on Saturday (3 am Nigerian time, Sunday), Michael Graham, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, stated that officials were present at the crash site to collect perishable evidence.

Graham explained that the team was diligently examining all evidence and considering various potential factors to ascertain the likely cause of the crash.

Although the information provided was preliminary, witness accounts indicated that wintry weather conditions may have contributed to the accident.

“The crew consisted of a pilot in command and a safety pilot. The accident flight was operated by Orbic Air LLC as a Part 135 charter flight

“Witness reports of the weather conditions at the time of the accident suggest rain and a wintry mix.

“The helicopter was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder. This helicopter was not required to be equipped with those types of recording devices,” Graham said

When queried for further details regarding the passengers, Graham mentioned that there were no specifics available at the moment. He further explained that any names would be disclosed through the coroner’s office, although he did not specify a timeframe for this.

Additionally, Graham stated that the NTSB would investigate various aspects including the airworthiness of the helicopter, its maintenance and structure, operational procedures, meteorological conditions, and air traffic control.

“Parties to the investigation include the FAA and Orbic Air LLC. As the investigation continues, other parties could be named,” he said.

“The BEA — the French aviation accident investigation agency — will serve as an accredited representative because France is a state of the manufacturer of the Airbus helicopter and the Turbomeca engine.”

Meanwhile, Access Holdings Plc has officially acknowledged the passing of its CEO, Wigwe, as well as his wife and son.

This announcement was issued in a statement signed by the Group Company Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, on Sunday.