Fatal Kobe Bryant Crash Due to Pilot ‘Illegally’ Flying Through Clouds.
SAFETY investigators have stated today (February 9), during a hearing to specify the likely cause or causes of the helicopter crash that killed basketball star Kobe Bryant, that the pilot likely became disorientated from the clouds before crashing the tragic event in Southern California.
The crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people who were on their way to a youth basketball tournament in January last year.
Pilot Ara Zobayan was flying under visual flight rules, which meant that he needed to be able to see where he was going, Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Zobayan had requested special permission to fly through low-visibility areas. He was a widely respected pilot who had logged more than 1,200 hours in the S-76 helicopter and was certified to fly with the use of his instruments in low visibility, however, his request was denied meaning that he was “legally prohibited” from flying through the clouds as he did.
Seconds before he crashed, according to the preliminary N.T.S.B. report, Mr. Zobayan told a flight controller he was trying to climb to 4,000 feet in an attempt to get above the clouds, but the helicopter was actually falling, investigators have said, a sign that he may have been disoriented.
The board said previously an examination of the helicopter’s engines and rotors found no evidence of “catastrophic mechanical failure” that could explain why the airship would have plunged into the terrain.
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