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.
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.