Pilot Disorientation Likely Caused Helicopter Crash, Killing Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gianna Bryant
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (February 9, 2021) – Authorities concluded the probable cause of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant.
The crash happened on January 26, 2020 in the hillside northwest of Los Angeles.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and six other passengers were flying from Orange County to a youth basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Ventura County. The helicopter encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley.
Pilot Ara Zobayan climbed sharply when the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter banked abruptly. Soon after, it crashed into the Calabasas hillside. All nine aboard were killed instantly before flames engulfed the wreckage.
A helicopter pilot’s spatial disorientation played a key role in the crash, federal authorities said.
Zobayan appeared to go against federal guidelines by flying into the fog, the NTSB said. The pilot should have avoided adverse weather and divert, return to base or land the helicopter, investigators said Tuesday.
The others killed in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.
Our sincere sympathies are with the loved ones Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and the rest of the victims.
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