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Six killed in helicopter crash in San Bernardino County near Nevada border

A helicopter carrying six people crashed in eastern San Bernardino County Friday night, killing all passengers onboard. The FAA confirmed that the Eurocopter EC130 went down around 10 p.m. east of the 15 Freeway and Halloran Springs Road near the community of Nipton, not far from the California-Nevada state line. Two pilots and four passengers were inside at the time. Preliminary information indicates that the helicopter, owned by Orbic Air of Burbank, took off from Palm Springs and was last seen near Barstow.
An aerial view shows a mark indicating the location of the helicopter crash in San Bernardino County on Friday night. (Google Maps)

Six people were killed Friday night in a helicopter crash in San Bernardino County near the Nevada border, authorities said.

The Eurocopter EC 130 single-engine helicopter crashed near Halloran Springs in the Mojave Desert, about 75 miles northeast of Barstow, according to Michael Graham, a board member with the National Transportation Safety Board.

All six people onboard the chartered flight died when the craft went down in what witnesses described as "rain and a wintry mix" at 10:08 p.m., Graham said at a Saturday evening briefing.

The helicopter, which was operated by Orbic Air LLC of Burbank, had taken off from Palm Springs International Airport at 8:45 p.m. and was bound for Boulder City, Nev., Graham said.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. The helicopter wasn't required to have a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder and didn't have either, Graham said.

"This is the beginning of a long process," he said, adding that "a preliminary report will be available in a few weeks."

Graham said the six victims included two crew members — both pilots — and four passengers. A statement released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Saturday said the identities of those killed in the crash were being withheld pending notification of their next of kin.

But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a prominent Nigerian American economist and director-general of the World Trade Organization, identified one of the victims as Herbert Wigwe, the 57-year-old chief executive of Access Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Nigeria.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said Wigwe's wife and son also died in the crash, as did Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group.

Okonjo-Iweala offered her "deepest sympathies and condolences" for those who died in the crash.

"May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace," she wrote on X.

It was the second fatal helicopter crash in Southern California this week. On Tuesday, five Marines died when a military craft went down in Pine Valley, about 40 miles east of San Diego. The helicopter was traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, officials said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.