- Dr Hervert Wigwe, 57, the co-founder of Nigeria’s largest bank Access Bank, died in a horror helicopter crash Friday night
- The CEO perished along with his wife, son and three others – also including the former chair of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjoa
- Investigators were seen scouring the crash site early Saturday morning, before confirming that ‘no survivors have been located’
A Nigerian banking CEO on his way to the Superbowl was among six people killed in a horror helicopter crash in the Mohave Desert.
The former chair of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjoa, was also among those who died when the Eurocopter EC 130 crashed while en route to Boulder City, Nevada.
Investigators were seen scouring the crash site early Saturday morning, before confirming that ‘no survivors have been located.’
The cause of the tragedy has not yet been determined by officials, with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department saying the crash site was near Nipton on the edge of the Mojave Desert Preserve.
Tributes poured in for Wigwe after news of his death was announced, with the finance executive seen as a leading figure spearheading in the expansion of the Nigerian economy.
In his work at Access Bank, he led an initiative to grow its influence across the continent, taking majority stakes or acquiring control over banks in nations including Kenya, South Africa and Botswana.
After his bank became the largest in Nigeria by assets in 2019, Wigwe told Semafor that the firm was finalizing efforts to launch its first full banking service in Asia in the first quarter of 2024.
He was also known for his influence in education, setting up his own college – Wigwe University – that was set to hold its first classes later this year.
Wigwe University was reported to have cost $500 million and planned to enroll 10,000 students over the next five years.
The university was part of his drive to improve Africa’s economy, as he wrote in an op-ed for Semafor just one month before his death that investing in higher education was crucial to expanding opportunities.
He added that improving education was key to controlling mass-migration and mitigating fears over how it destabilizes society, writing how the issue has taken a step back – including how ‘Donald Trump’s Republicans continue to whip up fears around border security.’
The helicopter crash was the second in California in a matter of days, after a Navy helicopter carrying five marines crashed in the southern California mountains during a storm on Tuesday night.
The five men have been identified as: Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Michigan.
Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of 3rd MAW, said: ‘It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the “Flying Tigers” while conducting a training flight.
‘These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so.
‘We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service. To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time.’
Several agencies launched a desperate search early on Wednesday after the chopper was reported missing.