Wigwe: FG, US begin talks, officials test copter’s wreckage

The Federal Government said it had begun talks with the government of the United States of America on the ongoing investigation of a chopper crash that claimed the lives of the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, and some prominent Nigerians in California, USA, on Friday.

This came as American investigators said the wreckage of the crashed chopper would be transferred to a new location in the US for comprehensive tests on Tuesday (today).

Wigwe; his wife, Doreen; son, Chizi; and a former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Abimola Ogunbanjo, died after the Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 carrying them crashed at a border town between California and Nevada, killing all the six occupants including two crew members.

The sad development has led to widespread mourning in Nigeria and the Diaspora. President Bola Tinubu, President Emmanuel Macron of France, state governors in Nigeria, business tycoons, and some prominent Nigerians have expressed commiserated with the families of the deceased Nigerians.

The Federal Government said the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau had entered into discussions with the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States to officer necessary support on the ongoing investigation of the circumstances that led to the crash of the chopper.

The ill-fated helicopter, operated by Orbic Air as a Part 135 charter flight, crashed around 10 pm on Friday.

Nigeria’s NSIB is the Federal Government agency that investigates air crashes, among others in the country. The NTSB has a similar mandate in the US.

The Director-General, NSIB, Captain Alex Badeh, who confirmed the latest move by the Federal Government in a statement, said Nigeria’s engagement with the US on the issue aligns with Chapter 5, Subsection 27 of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Annex 13, which bothers on “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.”

According to the NSIB statement, Chapter 5, Subsection 27 of the ICAO Annex 13 stipulates that a state having a special interest in an accident due to fatalities or serious injuries to its citizens is entitled to appoint an expert to “Visit the scene of the accident; have access to relevant information approved for public release by the state conducting the investigation, as well as information on the progress of the investigation; receive a copy of the final report.”



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