Herbert Wigwe: States in U.S with Highest Helicopter Fatal Crashes

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In a tragic incident, Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of a major Nigerian bank, was among six individuals who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in California’s Mojave Desert. Nigerian authorities, including World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed Wigwe’s death along with that of Abimbola Ogunbanjo, a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group. Nigerian politician Godwin Obaseki reported that Wigwe’s wife and son were also among the victims.

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The crash occurred around 10 p.m. local time near Nipton, California, not far from the California-Nevada border. The helicopter, departing from Palm Springs Airport around 8:45 p.m. en route to Boulder City, Nevada, encountered rainy and snowy weather conditions at the time of the accident.

This tragic event adds to Southern California’s history of aviation disasters, including military helicopter crashes that have claimed the lives of Marines and civilians alike. Within a week in June 2022, the region experienced three military aircraft crashes, underscoring the risks associated with its busy airspace.

Experts point to the significant military and civilian air traffic in Southern California, with over 30 federal military installations in the state. While factors like challenging terrain and weather conditions pose risks, the high volume of air traffic likely contributes to the accident rate.

Despite advancements in aviation safety technology and education, the National Transportation Safety Board reports an average of 20 general aviation accidents per week in the United States, with a significant portion resulting in fatalities. Over the span of 2012 to 2021, California recorded over 1,130 accidents, with 239 of them being fatal, according to NTSB data.

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