Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Official Case to Be Decided Today

by Halle Ames

A conclusion has been reached involving the deadly helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.

Findings into the Crash that Killed Kobe Bryant

According to the Federal Transportation Safety Agency, the pilot of the helicopter violated federal rules by flying into the clouds, causing “spatial disorientation,” due to the intense fog.

The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said that Ara Zobayan, the helicopter pilot who also, unfortunately, died in the crash, violated safety rules. The board states that Zobayan “was operating under rules that prohibited him from flying into the clouds, but that he had nonetheless continued.”

However, Zobayan had indicated that he was trying to fly above the clouds to 4,000 feet. In reality, the pilot was actually flying the helicopter downwards, further suggesting the veteran pilot was disoriented. Zobayan had logged more than 1,200 hours in the S-76 helicopter.

Bill English, the lead investigator, said that once Zobayan became disoriented. He “seemingly did not reference his instruments, did not understand them or did not trust them.”

English also stated, “this weather did not sneak up on the pilot.”

Ara Zobayan requested special permission to fly in low-visibility areas.

In addition, there was an airport very close by that the helicopter could have landed at.

The night before the accident, Zobayan had texted that the conditions were “not the best”. However, he texted that the forecast was “looking OK” in the morning.

Another possible factor was Kobe Bryant and Ara Zobayan’s relationship. Since the two were longtime friends, it could have been possible that the pilot didn’t want to disappoint the NBA legend, as he has flown the Bryant family many times before.

The Transportation Safety Meeting

According to the New York Times, the National Transportation Safety Board will release more of its findings at the end of the meeting.

The live-streamed meeting consisted of five National Transportation Safety Board members asking investigators questions on the deadly crash. The investigators have been studying the incident for a year now. For example, they looked at the broken helicopter parts and spoke to members of the charter company.

They hope to find out why this crash happened, and how they can avoid another in the future.

The group was on its way to a youth basketball tournament. Kobe Bryant was coaching the team that his daughter waqs playing in. Other members on board were the families of other players.

The crash happened a little over a year ago, on January 26, 2020. The helicopter crashed into a fog covered hill in Calabasas. The accident killed all nine members on board.