The federal government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has joined investigation of the helicopter crash which killed Mr. Herbert Wigwe Group CEO of Access Holdings and five others in the United States, on Friday night.
The ill-fated Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 occurred on Friday, February 9, 2024, at about 10:08 PM. (Pacific Standard Time) near Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California.
Former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Mr. Wigwe’s wife, Chizoba and son, Chizzy, also died in the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States has already commenced investigation into the incident.
However, the Nigerian arm of NTSB, NSIB, speaking through Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mrs Bimbo Olawunmi Oladeji, said it has offered its full cooperation to the NTSB in the investigation of the tragic crash.
Oladeji said the Director General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, Captain Alex Badeh, established contact with NTSB, in accordance with Chapter 5 subsection 27 of ICAO’s Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, which grants a State (nation) special interest in an accident involving its citizens.
The section reads: “A State which has a special interest in an accident by virtue of fatalities or serious injuries to its citizens shall be entitled to appoint an expert who shall be entitled to:
a. visit the scene of the accident;
b. have access to the relevant information which is approved for public release by the State conducting the investigation, and information on the progress of the investigation; and
c. receive a copy of the Final Report.”
NSIB is the multimodal transport agency in Nigeria responsible for promoting transport safety and conducting objective and thorough, investigations into transport accidents.
Similarly, the NTSB is the counterpart agency in the United States charged with fulfilling the same function as the NSIB.
The NSIB statement confirmed that the ill-fated helicopter, operated by Orbic Air, LLC as a Part 135 charter flight, departed from Palm Springs, California, at 8:45 p.m. PST, en route to Boulder City, Nevada, quoting Michael Graham, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, during a news conference on Saturday.
It said, “Regrettably, the United States authorities have now confirmed that everyone onboard the aircraft lost their lives in the crash.