Hebert Wigwe: Africa mourns Access Bank Group CEO killed in helicopter crash in California

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CEO of Access Holdings Plc has died in a helicopter crash in California, sparking an outpouring of grief from the African business community.

Hebert, 57, his wife Dame Chizoba Wigwe, their senior son, and a close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, were among the people killed when the aircraft came down in Niption, California. According to the NTSB, there were no survivors from the crash that happened on Friday.

According to BusinessDay, Herbert’s friend and predecessor, Aig Imoukhuede, also in California, flew in a separate helicopter and landed safely. It is unknown if they were ahead or behind the copter that crashed near Nipton, California.

Hebert, the co-founder of Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, started his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand Associates, an international firm of Chartered Accountants. He spent over 10 years at Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, managing several portfolios, including financial institutions, large corporates and multinationals.

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Tributes from entrepreneurs, business leaders and colleagues have been pouring in, with many expressing shock at his sudden death.

What do we know about the crash?

According to American news outlet NBC, the helicopter crashed Friday night near Nipton, California, with six people on board. In a statement, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that no survivors had been found.

“We were made aware of a downed aircraft at approximately 10:12 p.m. on February 10, 2024. The crash scene was determined to be east of the 15-Freeway, near Halloran Springs Road,” the sheriff’s department told NBC.

The United States National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) is also investigating the crash site to identify the bodies involved in the fatal crash.

“NTSB launching go team to investigate Friday’s crash of an Airbus Helicopters EC-130 near Halloran Springs, California. Team to arrive on scene today.”

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20:05 PM: Reports from numerous sources claim that Hebert Wigwe, the managing director of Access Bank, one of Nigeria’s premier banks has passed away. He is said to have been involved in a helicopter crash with a few others. However, there has been no official confirmation yet on the status of Hebert Wigwe, and those reportedly in the helicopter.

  • Hebert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank, was reportedly involved in a helicopter crash.
  • The reports indicate a tragic event with no official confirmation on the status of Hebert Wigwe or other passengers.
  • Business tycoon Abimbola Ogunbajo is feared to be among the victims of the crash

As seen in the Nigerian newspaper, BusinessDay, Hebert Wigwe the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank alongside 5 or 6 other people, depending on the source, was involved in a helicopter crash around the California-Nevada border. They were said to have been on their way to a party.

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While no official statement has been put out at the time of this report, numerous sources, including those claiming to be close to the situation have all but confirmed the tragic event.

The supposed time of the crash is believed to be 10 pm (US-California) time. Sources also reveal that the business tycoon Abimbola Ogunbajo is feared to be among the victims of the crash.

More updates later…

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