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Herbert Wigwe: Snowy weather responsible for crash – US authorities

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Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe

The United States authorities disclosed on Sunday that 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, his wife, and their son were aboard the helicopter when it crashed in California, near the Nevada border, on Friday.

Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairperson of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, was also on board the aircraft with Wigwe and others.

Speaking during a media briefing on Sunday, a National Transportation Safety Board member, Michael Graham, said officials were on the scene to gather perishable evidence.

Graham stated that the team was “methodically and systematically reviewing all evidence” and considering all potential factors to determine the probable cause of the crash.

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He noted that, while the material supplied was preliminary, witness reports indicated that snowy weather was one of the causes contributing to the tragedy.

“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.

Asked about more information on the passengers, Graham said there were no details but added that “any names will be released through the coroner’s office” without specifying a time frame.

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Furthermore, he added that the NTSB would look into the helicopter’s airworthiness, maintenance and structure, operations, meteorology, 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.”

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