The NTSB released an investigative report on the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on Feb. 7, and new photos show the chopper before and after its impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board released an investigative update on the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others on Feb. 7. The report, which was obtained by HollywoodLife, includes a heartbreaking final photo of the Sikorsky S-76B chopper disappearing into thick fog, taken from a security camera, during its final flight on Jan. 26. A witness also shared a photo with the agency that shows a ball of fire that erupted after the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas. At the time of publishing, the preliminary report on the crash was still pending.
The witness, who provided the photo, told NTSB investigators that he heard the sound of the chopper getting closer, before seeing it emerge from the clouds. The report states that the witness saw the helicopter roll onto its left so that the underside was visible. It then crashed into a ball of flames about 50 feet below him. The update gave no indication of engine failure, as the engine was powering the rotors right up until the moment of impact, according to both an analysis of the crash site and statements from the crash’s witness. The agency has asked for help from the public asking them to send in photos of the weather from the time and area of the crash, as poor visibility has been one of the main focuses of the investigation.
“Our investigators have already developed a substantial amount of evidence about the circumstances of this tragic crash,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement. “And we are confident that we will be able to determine its cause as well as any factors that contributed to it so we can make safety recommendations to prevent accidents like this from occurring again.” A full report on the crash from the NTSB could take up to a year before it’s released. Investigators will further look at weather conditions, the pilot and his company’s history, as well as any possible mechanical issues.
Kobe, Gianna, six others and the pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, were en route from Orange County to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA for Gianna’s basketball tournament at the time the chopper went down, just hours before the 2020 Grammy Awards. Their cause of deaths were determined to have been from the blunt force trauma from the crash, the LA County Coroner’s Office recently revealed. The manner of their sudden and tragic deaths was also listed as an “accident.” Kobe left behind grieving wife Vanessa, 37, and daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and seven-month-old Capri.