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Monday, February 26, 2024

Wigwe: NSIB collaborates with US agency to investigate helicopter crash

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The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, NSIB, will be collaborating with the United States National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, to initiate an investigation on the helicopter that caused the death of Dr Herbert Wigwe and five others.

This was made known in a statement on Monday by Mrs Bimbo Oladeji, Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, his wife, son and some others were onboard the ill-fated Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 helicopter.

The crash, which occurred on Friday, February 9, at about 10:08 pm near Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California, was confirmed by the NTSB via its post on X.

It stated that it had dispatched its “Go Team” to investigate the accident.

According to Michael Graham, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, who spoke during a news conference on Saturday, the ill-fated helicopter, operated by Orbic Air, LLC as a Part 135 chartered flight, departed from Palm Springs, California, at 8:45 p.m. PST, enroute to Boulder City, Nevada.

“Regrettably, the United States authorities have now confirmed that everyone onboard the aircraft lost their lives in the crash.

“The deceased are two crew members comprising a pilot in command and a “safety pilot” and four passengers namely Dr Herbert Wigwe, his wife, son, and Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, (NGX Group).

“In the aftermath of the accident, the Director-General, NSIB, 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) particular interest in an accident involving its citizens,” the statement said.

Chapter 5 subsection 27 of ICAO’s Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation-Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation reads: “5.27 A State which has a particular interest in an accident by fatalities or severe injuries to its citizens shall be entitled to appoint an expert who shall be entitled to.

“Visit the scene of the accident; 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 receive a copy of the final report.”

The statement noted the ICAO’s Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil, therefore, granted Nigeria, through the NSIB, the prerogative to appoint an expert to actively participate in the investigation.

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