Family of Late Nigerian Executive Sues US Helicopter Firm Over Fatal Crash

Family of Late Nigerian Executive Sues US Helicopter Firm Over Fatal Crash

The relatives of Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group who tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash in Southern California this past February, have initiated legal action against the American helicopter firm involved, on Wednesday.

Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the ex-CEO of Access Holdings, along with his spouse and child, were passengers on the doomed flight.

The Ogunbanjo kin argued that the helicopter flight should have been canceled due to hazardous weather conditions.

In the unfortunate incident in February, Wigwe, along with his wife and son, perished in the crash that occurred near the California-Nevada boundary in the United States.

The Ogunbanjo family, in their legal claim submitted on Wednesday, accused the charter service, Orbic Air, of negligently conducting the flight amidst adverse weather, characterized by a “wintry mix” of snow and rain in the Mojave Desert on February 9, as reported by the Press Enterprise.

Andrew C. Robb, one of the lawyers managing the lawsuit, emphasized the family’s quest for “answers and accountability.”

“Helicopters do not do very well in snow and ice,” Robb conveyed to The Associated Press.

“This flight was entirely preventable, and we don’t know why they took off,” he further remarked.

The lawsuit was lodged in the San Bernardino County Superior Court by Ogunbanjo’s widow and their two offspring against Orbic Air and its CEO, Brady Bowers, citing wrongful death and negligence.

Additionally, the legal action targets the unnamed heirs of Pettingill and Hansen, deemed accountable by the Ogunbanjo family. Orbic Air has yet to respond to the allegations.

The National Transportation Safety Board is presently investigating the tragic incident.

An initial report by the board in February shed light on the helicopter’s flight trajectory and the debris found.

At the crash moment, witnesses described seeing a “fireball” amid the rainy and snowy conditions.

The legal claim is pushing for a trial by jury to cover Ogunbanjo’s funeral and burial costs, alongside other compensatory damages. The legal team of Robb & Robb, representing Ogunbanjo’s relatives, had previously advocated for Vanessa Bryant in her lawsuit related to the fatal helicopter crash that claimed Kobe Bryant’s life in 2020.

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