NTSB investigating cause of helicopter crash that killed 9, including Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The National Transportation Safety Board and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Monday afternoon providing what information they could about a helicopter crash in Calabasas that killed Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others.

Across the country, basketball arenas are paying their respects to the Lakers great who was one of nine people to lose their lives.

The questions of what exactly happened, why it happened and how Bryant’s life could come to such a tragic end  — these are questions that continue to play over and over in the heads of fans and admirers of Bryant.

They’re also the questions the NTSB is looking to answer. 

Monday was their first full day at the very large accident site and they’re getting a better idea of what happened in the moments leading up to the crash that took nine lives. 

“The pilot said they were going to fly above to avoid a cloud layer. When they asked what they were going to do, there was no reply,” a spokesperson for the NTSB said. 

The final moments leading up to the crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others as they made their way to Thousand Oaks Sunday morning, were detailed in a press conference Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

“Should the pilot have been flying in the fog — that’s a part of the investigation,” said spokesperson Jennifer Homendy.

The NTSB says the pilot, Ara Zobayan, had to change their route from Orange County to just southeast of Burbank Airport. 

Zobayan was given special VFR approval to continue flying through three miles visibility. 

Weather is just one factor they’re looking into. 

“The coroner is still on site. They are doing what they need to do for recovery, and we’re doing what we need to do for evidence and drone mapping,” she said.

They called the scene devastating, describing a large impact area and pieces of the plane scattered some 200 yards apart from one another. 

Fans of the icon are continuing to mourn

“It really shows you, I know how cliche this is, but how precious life is. You just never know,” a fan said outside Chase Center Monday.

A bouquet of purple flowers lay at Chase Center, a place where Bay Area fans felt they could come together. 

“I was walking to work today, and I just see him there, I felt like Kobe is everywhere,” another fan said. 

“We just needed a place to kind of reflect. Just reflecting on what it’s like to be an LA kid who grew up on kobe and how difficult this moment is to really process. 

“He transcended the game by letting people know that no matter where you came from, age difference, you can defy the odds — and he did that in a miraculous way,” a fan said.

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