Herbert Wigwe: Eurocopter EC 130 Helicopters and It’s History of Accidents

The Eurocopter EC 130 helicopter that killed Nigerian billionaire banker Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, and five others in California has a history of previous incidents.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported a helicopter crashed Friday night in Nipton, California, with six persons on board.

The FAA recognized the helicopter as a Eurocopter EC 130.

Airbus Helicopters SAS (previously Eurocopter) manufactures the single-engine aircraft and its derivatives, which have a long history of accidents.

In February 2018, another Eurocopter EC 130B4 crashed in the Grand Canyon, killing five persons, all of them were Britons.

Stuart and Jason Hill, two brothers aged 30 and 32, were among those killed. Stuart Hill’s girlfriend, Becky Dobson, was also killed in the collision. The three were pronounced deceased on the scene.

The fatal crash also claimed the lives of Jonathan and Ellie Udall, husband and wife. They both died of burn-related complications a few days later.

The pilot, Scott Booth, and Jason Hill’s girlfriend, Jennifer Dorricott, both survived. However, both endured life-altering injuries.

After falling, the airplane caught fire. The pilot told American investigators that the chopper began spinning after encountering a “violent gust of wind”.

The NTSB stated that tailwinds and turbulence were most likely the causes of the aircraft’s loss of control.

A lawsuit stemming from the tragedy resulted in a $100 million landmark judgment in January.

On December 1, a Eurocopter EC 130B4 belonging to the Mexican Federal Electricity Commission collided with power cables during takeoff and crashed, killing three individuals aboard.

In January 2023, two Sea World Helicopters EC130B4s collided in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, killing four and wounding eight.

Following these tragedies, it is now necessary that all helicopter fuel tanks be insulated against fuel tank rupture on impact.

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