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Wigwe Helicopter Crash: What Caused It–NTSB



Wigwe Helicopter Crash

Nigerians woke up on February 10, to the shocking news of the Wigwe helicopter crash, an air accident involving the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, his wife, and his son .

Some fourteen days after, there are indications what caused it.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has forwarded its preliminary report to the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) of what may have caused the accident.


READ ALSO: Herbert Wigwe: US Govt Releases Images Of The Crash Location [Pictorial]

The Wigwe helicopter crash in an Airbus EC130B4 also claimed the life of the former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Providing details on the report, the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection of NSIB, Mrs Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, said initial findings suggest that the helicopter suffered catastrophic damage upon impact, resulting in fragmentation of major components.


The findings added that witnesses reported adverse weather conditions characterised by rain and a mix of snow during the flight, adding that several individuals travelling along interstate 15 (I-15) observed a fireball in the area that prompted calls to emergency services.

It was for these that the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in the high, mountainous desert and scrub-brush covered terrain near Halloran Springs, California.

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 “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.

“All major helicopter components were identified at the accident site. The helicopter’s fuselage was fragmented, and the cockpit and cabin were destroyed. Some debris and vegetation displayed thermal damage, indicative of the extent of the collision’s force. 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.

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“As the investigation progresses, the NSIB remains committed to engaging the NTSB to receive the public docket of the investigation, which will comprise the compendium of information gathered throughout the investigation. This typically includes photographs, interview summaries, documentation, and other relevant data that will give a clearer picture of the factors that led to the accident”.


The Wigwe helicopter accident of course has raised fresh concerns over air passenger safety not only in Nigeria, but in all other airspaces.

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