The National Transportation and Safety Board has attributed rain and wintry weather as major factors in the ill-fated airbus that killed the Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.
Wigwe, his wife, and son were onboard the helicopter when it crashed in California near the Nevada border on Friday.
Also on board was the former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Abimbola Ogunbanjo.
NTSB Board member Michael Graham, with updates to newsmen on Saturday (3 a.m. Nigerian time, Sunday), said the NTSB would look into the helicopter’s airworthiness, maintenance, and structure.
He added that “officials were on the scene to gather perishable evidence,” disclosing further that “parties to the investigation include the FAA and Orbic Air LLC.”
Graham said the team was “methodically and systematically reviewing all evidence” and considering all potential factors to determine the probable cause of the crash.
He noted that although the information provided was only preliminary, witness reports suggested that a wintry weather condition was among the factors that contributed to the accident.
The crew consisted of a pilot in command and a safety pilot. The accident flight was operated by Orbic Air LLC as a Part 135 charter flight.
Witness reports of the weather conditions at the time of the accident suggest rain and a wintry mix.
The helicopter was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder. This helicopter was not required to be equipped with those types of recording devices,” Graham said.
Asked about more information on the passengers, Graham stated there were no details but added that “any names will be released through the coroner’s office” without specifying a time frame.
“The BEA, the French aviation accident investigation agency, will serve as an accredited representative because France is the state of the manufacturer of the Airbus helicopter and the Turbomeca engine,” Graham said.
The NTSB board member said a report will be available in a ‘couple of weeks, but a full NTSB investigation will last 12 to 24 months before a final report is published.