Michael Graham, a board member with the NTSB, provided a briefing on the preliminary details of the crash. The helicopter was on a charter flight from Palm Springs, California, to Boulder City, Nevada, when it crashed south of I-15 near Halloran Springs at a news conference Saturday night.
He confirmed that all six people on board—the pilot-in-command, a safety pilot, and four passengers—were killed. Graham said but did not publicly identify the victims.
But TheNigerialawyer learnt that the Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, along with his wife and son, was among six people killed Friday night when a helicopter they were riding in crashed near Baker in San Bernardino County.
Graham said he did not have information about the helicopter’s crew, which included a pilot and a safety pilot. The aircraft did not have a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder and was not required to have them, he added.
The helicopter took off from Palm Springs Airport around 8:45 p.m. and was en route to Boulder City, Nevada. Boulder City is about 26 miles southeast of Las Vegas, where the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers are set to play in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.
It was a charter flight operated by Orbic Air LLC. Several people traveling on the 15 Freeway witnessed the crash and called 911, Graham said, and he urged them to contact the NTSB with more details, including photos and videos. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Witnesses reported that it was raining with a “wintry mix” at the time of the crash, according to Graham. People also reported a fire on the helicopter plus some downed power lines.
Temperatures in the area were in the high 20s at the time of the crash, according to National Weather Service data. Winds were fairly light, at around 10 mph, but gusts were starting to move in, and some were measured at 29 mph before the sun rose Saturday, according to the weather service. Graham said
“The cause of the crash has not been determined, This is the beginning of a long process. We will not jump to any conclusions,” Graham said. He also “expressed our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.”
The NTSB said it is presently gathering evidence at the scene. While a preliminary report will be available in a “couple of weeks,” the NTSB said the full investigation into the crash could take between 12 and 24 months. The investigation will include witness reports of rain and a “wintry mix” of conditions reported in the area. Downed power lines also were reported in the area.
The NTSB said the helicopter was not equipped with a voice data recorder or a flight data recorder, nor was it require to do so.
The areas of investigation for the NTSB:
- air “worthiness” of the craft, including maintenance and structure of the helicopter
- air traffic control
The NTSB asks that anyone who witnessed the crash while driving on I-15 reach out with any information, including photos, that might aid in the investigation at email@example.com.
Halloran Springs Road crosses over the 15 Freeway in an area known to travelers for an abandoned gas station with a sign declaring “Lo Gas” and “Eat.” It’s located in a remote area of the Mojave Desert, with an elevation of nearly 3,000 feet. Logs from the California Highway Patrol show there was rain and snow in the area at about the time of the crash.
The crash comes just three days after a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crashed in the mountains outside San Diego on Tuesday during historic downpours. Five Marines were killed.
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