Six people are dead after a helicopter crashed in California on Friday, killing the CEO of a Nigerian bank, his family and two pilots.
The aircraft, an Airbus EC130, was making its way from Palm Springs, California to Boulder City, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas, where the Super Bowl is being held on Sunday. It crashed near Baker, California around 10pm, the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Witnesses said they could see fire coming from the aircraft after it made contact with the desert terrain, close to Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California.
The President of Nigeria, Bold Ahmed Tinbu, confirmed the deaths of Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Holdings, his wife, Chizoba Wigwe and their son Chizi Wigwe.
Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, was also on board the helicopter.
“This passing is an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension,” the president said. “I pray for the peaceful repose of the departed.”
Michael Graham, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the aircraft had departed California around 8.45pm and that there were no survivors of the incident. The helicopter used belongs to Burbank-based tour company called Orbic Air.
It’s believed that the helicopter was rented from the company.
During a Saturday news conference, Mr Graham said that the weather at the time of the accident suggested rain and a “wintery mix”. He added that officials would be on scene over the weekend to gather perishable evidence.
A preliminary report into the accident would be available in a couple of weeks, while a full investigation could take up to two years. Officials will examine the aircraft’s level of airworthiness, including maintenance, operations, meteorology and air traffic control.
“I’d like to express our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy,” Mr Graham said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the incident.
According to CNN, more than 1,000 private jets are expected to fly into the Las Vegas area for the superbowl at Allegiant Stadium.
‘Water does have a memory’: Indigenous lecturer stresses importance of conservation
Looking out at a crowd of about 150, Melanie Smokey grinned as she told the story of her upbringing with Native American elders to a captive audience.
Smokey, who is of Western Shoshone and Washoe descent, argues the water we use every day is a resource worth saving.
“Water does have a memory,” she said. “It does have emotions and feelings, and we know that because it comes out of us.”
She was the first lecturer in the Nuwu Pasats Speakers Series, where members of Nevada’s Indigenous tribes will discuss the importance of natural resources. The series leads up to the opening of a new garden at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas in the fall, where staff will grow native plants and describe their value to local tribes.
Throughout the talk, Smokey shared different cultural traditions related to water and the land, such as the importance of willow plants used in traditional basket-weaving. Smokey’s grandparents, Art and Alice Hooper, were instrumental in establishing the reservation for the Yomba Shoshone Tribe in Nye County.
As tribal elders age and die off, it can be a challenge for those who belong to lesser-known tribes to make sure the language and culture doesn’t die with them, Smokey said.
“Our people pray this forward with tears, even. Their sacred water praying for all of us to be here today,” she said. “One day, like these willows, you can be formed into something good.”
Preserving the Southern Paiute culture
Before the lecture, Springs Preserve archaeologist Ian Ford-Terry led nearly 60 people on a walking tour of the botanical gardens where staff are beginning to grow seeds for the new garden with the help of the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Not only will the garden help bolster native plants in the valley, but there are efforts underway to make the garden a historical site that will feature audio clips of the native language, thanks to the help of a group of Southern Paiutes.
Native American culture and native plants coming together at the garden will hopefully make the Southern Paiutes more visible, he said.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’re really focusing on those plants,” Ford-Terry said. “They can teach us about how to live better in a balanced way.”
Kenny Anderson, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribal Council’s cultural committee chairman who is leading the language preservation effort, said he’s thrilled to see so much interest in preserving the culture of the Southern Paiutes, who don’t have a recognized historical footprint in Las Vegas.
“To me, it’s a good thing that we’re going to try to help people understand the history of the Paiutes of this area and learn how they survived,” Anderson said.
Contact Alan at email@example.com. Follow @AlanHalaly on Twitter.
Nevada auto burglars arrested in Utah for using stolen credit cards
ST. GEORGE (KTNV) — Three people accused of breaking into vehicles in Nevada have been arrested in Utah for allegedly using stolen credit cards.
According to the St. George Police Department, police officers responded to reports of a suspicious white van and a black Cadillac SUV. When officers arrived, the black SUV took off. However, officers were able to speak to two men and a woman inside the van. Officers detained all three because they could smell marijuana.
While attempting to identify the three people, police said one of the men provided multiple fake names and birth dates. Officers did find paperwork in the vehicle to identify him and dispatch said there was a warrant for his arrest out of Colorado and he was facing homicide charges. Police also found multiple knives and drug paraphernalia on the man.
Police also said the three were involved in multiple vehicle burglaries in Nevada and were attempting to use the stolen credit cards in Utah. They are facing multiple charges.
Police haven’t identified any of the suspects by name, as of Saturday afternoon.
LETTER: Red-light cameras for Southern Nevada a no-brainer
I find it laughable when I read letters to the editor from people against red-light cameras. The Clark County sheriff is right, we need them.
I purchased my home in 1999, and I came from New York City. Over the past couple of years, many of the people who moved here came with bad driving habits. There is not one day I go out that I don’t see someone running a red light or speeding. I constantly see people speeding through school zones and not paying attention to the flashing lights, or I see people making their own lane just to go around other drivers.
New York has had red-light cameras for years, and it does not cause accidents. It makes people slow down.
We also need speed cameras around this town, especially in school zones. They installed them in all the boroughs in New York, and it is amazing to see people actually watch their speed.
My auto insurance has gone up in the past two years by about $1,000. Something has to be done. We have to stop the idiots on our roads who think they are the only ones driving.
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