Wigwe: Ogunbajos sue US helicopter company over ex-NGX chairman’s death

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The family of the late former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, who tragically lost his life in a Southern California helicopter crash in February, has taken legal action against the US helicopter company involved.

In a court filing on Wednesday, Ogunbanjos alleged that the charter company, Orbic Air, flew the helicopter despite adverse weather conditions, including a “wintry mix” of snow and rain in the Mojave Desert where the accident occurred on Feb. 9, Ss reported by The PUNCH.

Ogunbanjo’s wife and two children have filed a lawsuit in San Bernardino County Superior Court against Orbic Air and its CEO, Brady Bowers, citing wrongful death and negligence. The suit also names the unidentified successors of Pettingill and Hansen, whom Ogunbanjo’s family holds accountable.

Orbic Air did not issue any comment on the matter.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial for Ogunbanjo’s burial and funeral expenses, as well as additional damages. Robb & Robb, the law firm representing Ogunbanjo’s family, previously represented Vanessa Bryant in her lawsuit following Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter crash in 2020.

Also onboard the ill-fated helicopter were the former Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Dr Herbert Wigwe, his wife, and his son.

The Ogunbanjo family contends that the flight should have been grounded due to hazardous weather conditions. Attorney Andrew C. Robb, one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, emphasized that the family is seeking “answers and accountability.”

“Helicopters do not perform well in snow and ice,” Robb stated. “This flight was entirely preventable, and we don’t know why they took off.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash’s cause. While a preliminary report released in February outlined the helicopter’s flight path and wreckage, the exact cause remains undetermined. Witnesses reported observing a fiery crash amidst a snow and rainstorm.

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