Last-Minute Decision: PA’s Miracle Escape from Helicopter Crash

Olusola Faleye, the Personal Assistant to the late Herbert Wigwe, former Group Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank Plc, shared a harrowing account of how he narrowly missed being aboard the ill-fated helicopter that claimed the lives of his boss, Wigwe, along with his wife, son, and business associate, Abimbola Ogunbajo.
Speaking at a night of tribute to the former banker in Lagos on Wednesday, Faleye recounted the circumstances that spared his life. He revealed that he was initially scheduled to fly with Wigwe and the others on the helicopter. However, a last-minute decision led him to accompany the luggage by road instead.
Faleye explained that the helicopter was unable to accommodate all the luggage, prompting him to opt for a road trip to ensure the safe delivery of their belongings. Little did he know that this decision would ultimately spare his life.
He said: “Five of us embarked on that journey. I remember Mr Bimbo chatted me and said he wants to come with us, it was a Tuesday. And I told him my boss’s journey is not always straightforward. Sometimes, you can get in the air and divert somewhere else, and he said he was going to wait.
“I said he was still going to Abuja that day, and maybe he’ll be leaving later in the midnight and he said he was going to wait.
“I still tried to let him understand that we would be in London Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but he said he would stay in his house and wait. I really don’t know why I was trying to convince him not, I don’t know, and we all went on the journey.
“We flew from London to Palm Springs. I remember, in the middle of the air, I walked up to him. I said sir, how comfortable are you flying chopper at night? I’ve never done it before. And he said a word, he said, This is America, they have navigation systems for flying chopper at night, and I went back to my seat.
“As they were loading the luggages, this thought started playing in my mind that, okay, you will fly chopper, one hour you are there. The next three and a half hours, the luggages are not going to come. Will I go to bed, no. I still have to sit down and wait for this luggage to come.
“I was like so, why not just go with the luggages and get there and deliver to him and others in the room. Like I said, I always reason in the line of duty. And I went up to him, and said, sir, I think its safer and will be secure for me to just ride and bring the luggage to you. He said, brilliant idea, and I said safe flight.”
The night of tribute to Herbert Wigwe turned into a solemn occasion as friends, colleagues, and associates gathered to honor his memory and reflect on his contributions to the banking industry.
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