Eurocopter EC 130, the ill-fated helicopter that Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank, and five others boarded on Friday February 9, 2024, in the United States took off from Palm Springs Airport, California.
The flight took off at about 8:45 p.m. (local time).
According to a local news outlet, it was expected to land at 9: 49 p.m (local time) at Boulder City, Nevada.
Details on FlightAware, a flight tracking platform, showed that the registration number of the helicopter is N130CZ and it was last seen near Fort Irwin/Barstow, California.
The helicopter is owned by Orbic Helicopter Tours, a longstanding provider of aerial experiences in Los Angeles.
According to details on the company’s website, “in addition to offering the best helicopter tours, we also provide helicopter transportation.”
Meanwhile, the cause of the crash is still unknown as of press time Saturday night.
Mr Wigwe, his wife, and his son are among the six passengers in the helicopter that crashed in the US early Saturday Nigerian time (late Friday local time).
How much does EC130 cost per hour?
The average hourly rental rate of the Eurocopter EC-130-T2 is around 3,350 USD per hour.
How much does an H130 helicopter cost?
The Airbus H130 (formerly known as the EC130 T2) is a single-engine helicopter with a seating capacity of up to seven passengers. This model is renowned for its spacious cabin, low noise levels, and versatility. The price for a new Airbus H130 starts at $3.7 million.
Notable accidents and incidents
- On 2 January 2023, two EC130B4s operated by Sea World Helicopters collided in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, killing four people and injuring eight.
- In February 2018, a EC130B4 operated by Papillon Airways crashed in the Grand Canyon, killing five people. Due to strong winds, the helicopter spun out of control and crashed as it came in to land. Three people died immediately, two more died in hospital as a result of burns sustained during the crash. The deaths were found to be the result of a non-crash-resistant fuel tank that was ruptured on impact. In January 2024, a Nevada judge awarded a £79 million ($100 million) settlement to the family of the British couple killed in the Grand Canyon crash. The settlement consisted of $75.4 million (£59.3 million) from Airbus Helicopters SAS and £19.4 million ($24.6 million) from Papillon Airways. Following the accident it is now required all helicopter fuel tanks are shielded from fuel tank rupture on impact.
- On February 9, 2024, an EC130 crashed in the Mojave Desert near Nipton, California around 10:00pm PST. Six people were on board and no survivors have been found.