• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Wigwe: Preliminary report show thermal damage, indicative of the extent of collision’s force

Herbert Wigwe

The preliminary report on Airbus helicopter EC130BA accident in California crash that resulted in the death of Herbert Wigwe Group CEO of Access Holdings and five others who were onboard show that some debris and vegetation displayed thermal damage, indicative of the extent of the collision’s force.

The accident which involved the Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 occurred on Friday, February 9, 2024, at about 10:08 PM. (Pacific Standard Time) near Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California

Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Wigwe’s wife, and son also died in the crash.

In a statement by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) stated that the preliminary report showed that all major helicopter components were identified at the accident site.

“The helicopter’s fuselage was fragmented, and the cockpit and cabin were destroyed. The flight control tubes and linkages leading up to the flight control servos were fragmented and continuity could not be verified.

“All three pitch control links were attached at the swashplate and blade pitch change horns. The main rotor blades were fragmented and broomstrawed, and the blade sleeves and tips were present.

“Data analysis utilised sources including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data, operator personnel reports, and eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the flight path and sequence of events leading to the accident,” the statement reads.

The NSIB statement which was signed by Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji
Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB stated that initial findings suggest that the helicopter suffered catastrophic damage upon impact, resulting in fragmentation of major components.

The preliminary report on the Airbus Helicopter EC130B4, registered as N130CZ and operated by Orbic Air, LLC, under Part 135 regulations for on-demand flights, outlines crucial details surrounding the tragic incident.

“Departing from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, the helicopter embarked on a journey to Boulder City Municipal Airport in Nevada via Palm Springs International Airport.

“However, during its flight, adverse weather conditions characterised by rain and a mix of snow, were encountered, as reported by witnesses. Reports from law enforcement and eyewitnesses also indicated that several individuals travelling along Interstate 15 (I-15) observed a “fireball” in the area, prompting calls to emergency services.

“Subsequently, the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in the high, mountainous desert and scrub-brush covered terrain near Halloran Springs, California.

“Analysis of the accident site revealed a scattered debris pattern about 300 ft along a 120° magnetic, indicating a trajectory from an initial impact point which was a 1.5 ft deep, 12 ft long and 10 ft wide ground crater, containing fragments of the right landing gear skid, cockpit wiring, and cabin floor structure.

“The right skid step protruded upward at a 45° angle at the extreme eastern edge of the ground crater,” Ogunbanjo stated.