Michael Graham, a board member with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), provided an update on Sunday regarding the ongoing investigation into the crash of an Airbus EC130 helicopter.
The crash claimed the lives of Wigwe, his wife, Doreen, their son Chizi, and a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo. It occurred near a border town between California and Nevada.
The crash occurred on Friday, south of Interstate 15 near Howerin Springs, California. The helicopter involved bears the registration number November 130 Charlie Zulu. Graham emphasized that the NTSB team is currently on-site to gather perishable evidence crucial to the investigation. He cautioned that the information provided during the briefing is preliminary and subject to change as the investigation progresses.
Graham outlined the activities conducted on the first full day of investigation at the accident site. These included aerial drone mapping, site documentation, and a detailed examination of the debris field by the airworthiness group. The debris field, approximately 100 yards in length, contained all major components of the helicopter, including rotor blades, transmission, engine, tail rotor, landing gear skids, and various avionics components.
Analysis of flight track data revealed that the helicopter was traveling along Interstate 15 at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet above ground level before initiating a slight right turn south of the interstate. Subsequently, the data indicated a gradual descent and increasing ground speed, with the flight track ending approximately 4 miles from the wreckage location.
The wreckage site indicated that the helicopter impacted the terrain in a nose-low and right bank angle. Various electronic devices and onboard equipment were recovered for further examination and analysis. The NTSB plans to coordinate the movement of the wreckage to a secure location on Tuesday for further investigation.
Graham also confirmed witness reports of precipitation at the time and location of the accident, supported by weather radar images and data analyzed by NTSB meteorologists. Additionally, the NTSB operations group has begun gathering information related to pilot records, flight dispatch records, and aircraft maintenance records.
Acknowledging the support received from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Coordinator Office, and the National Park Service, Graham announced that this would be the last on-scene press briefing. However, the unseen portion of the investigation will continue until completion.
As part of the investigative process, a preliminary report on the accident is expected within 30 days, with a full NTSB investigation lasting 12 to 24 months before a final report is issued. Further updates on the investigation will be provided by the NTSB headquarters in Washington, DC.
For media inquiries, NTSB news media can contact the organization at media firstname.lastname@example.org.
The investigation into the Airbus EC130 helicopter crash remains ongoing, with the NTSB committed to uncovering the cause of the tragic incident.