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Copter crash: Ogunbanjo family sues American company

The family of the late former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, who died in a Southern California helicopter crash in February, has filed a lawsuit against the US helicopter company.

This was first reported by The Press-Enterprise.

Both pilots — Benjamin Pettingill, 25, and Blake Hansen, 22 — also died. They were licensed as commercial helicopter pilots as well as flight instructors.

Ogunbanjo, 61, was killed along with the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Dr. Herbert Wigwe; Wigwe’s wife Doreen and son Chizi.

Scene of the helicopter crash involving Ogunbanjo and the Wigwes

Ogunbanjo’s wife and two children filed the suit in San Bernardino County Superior Court against Orbic Air and its CEO, Brady Bowers, alleging wrongful death and negligence.

They said the flight shouldn’t have taken off because of treacherous weather.

The incident happened in California near the Nevada border, United States of America, on February 9.

Relatives of Ogunbanjo in the Wednesday court filing claimed that the charter company, Orbic Air, improperly flew the helicopter despite a “wintry mix” of snowy and rainy conditions in the Mojave Desert where the crash occurred on February 9.

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One of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, Andrew C. Robb, said the Ogunbanjo family is seeking answers and accountability.

“Helicopters do not do very well in snow and ice. This flight was entirely preventable, and we don’t know why they took off,” Robb told The Associated Press

Ogunbanjo’s wife and two children filed the lawsuit in San Bernardino County Superior Court against Orbic Air and its CEO, Brady Bowers, alleging wrongful death and negligence.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash.

A preliminary investigation report released by the agency in February revealed details about the helicopter’s flight path and wreckage.

Witnesses reported observing a “fireball” during rainy and snowy conditions at the time of the crash.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial for Ogunbanjo’s burial expenses, funeral expenses, and other 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.

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Bridget Benson, with Agency reports
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