california local news

Wealthy African banker, family identified as victims in San Bernardino Co. helicopter crash

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A helicopter carrying six people crashed in eastern San Bernardino County Friday night, and new information released Saturday afternoon confirmed the identity of the victims as a wealthy Nigerian banker and his family. 

The FAA confirmed that the Eurocopter EC130 went down around 10 p.m. east of the 15 Freeway and Halloran Springs Road near the community of Nipton, not far from the California-Nevada state line. 

Among the decedents was Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank, one of the largest banks in Nigeria. His death was confirmed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization and formerly Nigeria’s finance minister, in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Also onboard were Wigwe’s wife and son and a man identified by Okonjo-Iweala as Bombo Ogunbanjo, who is listed as the former chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.

Preliminary information indicates that the helicopter, owned by Orbic Air of Burbank, took off from Palm Springs and was last seen near Barstow. Its intended destination was reported as Boulder City, Nevada, located about 26 miles southeast of Las Vegas, but that report could not be confirmed.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that they were aware of the helicopter crash early Saturday afternoon.

Officials investigating helicopter crash in San Bernardino County 
Authorities on the scene of a helicopter crash in eastern San Bernardino County on Feb. 10, 2024. (Inland News)

It is unknown if any of the six people aboard survived the crash, but the sheriff’s department noted at 12:23 p.m. that no survivors had been located at that time.

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

This is a developing story. Stay with KTLA for updates.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.