HomeSportsKobe Bryant Helicopter Crash’s Probable Cause to be Determined in February Hearing

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash’s Probable Cause to be Determined in February Hearing

by Suzanne Halliburton
Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash one year ago this month. And finally, there may be specific answers as to what caused the accident that also killed eight others, including Bryant’s beloved daughter Gianna.

The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a hearing Feb. 9 to determine how and why the helicopter crashed near Calabasas and into the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Kobe Bryant, a former basketball star with a huge international fan base, and his daughter were on their way to a youth basketball tournament, Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter crashed in the fog. Others on board included the pilot, Gianna’s friends on the team and members of their families. Bryant, the foremost Girl Dad, coached Gianna’s basketball team at the Mamba Sports Academy.

Bryant’s death was crushing to his fans around the world. He was a five-time NBA champion and an 18-time All-Star. The Los Angeles Lakers retired both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tapped Bryant for membership in April.

Bryant retired from the Lakers in 2016 and spent his retirement doing stuff he loved.

Bryant coached his daughter and took her to NBA games. He supported women’s sports, in part, because he was the father of four daughters. In 2018, Bryant became the first athlete nominated for an Academy Award and a Sports Emmy. His short film “Dear Basketball” won the Oscar for best animated short film. Bryant also hosted a series called “Detail” for ESPN.

The Lakers won the NBA title last year. Players and staff received their championship rings just before Christmas. There’s a snake on one side to honor Kobe Bryant. After all, Bryant’s nickname was “Black Mamba.”

Initial Report On Kobe Bryant Copter Crash Says Pilot Was Disoriented

By federal law, the NTSB must investigate the probable cause of all civil aviation accidents in the country. The investigations often can be lengthy.

Last summer, the NTSB issued a preliminary report. It said pilot Ara Zobayan likely was disoriented because of the foggy conditions. The board said that pilots while flying in the fog, can lose track of the helicopter’s acceleration and altitude because their visibility is so limited. Prior to the crash, Zobayan told air traffic controllers he was climbing out of the clouds. However, the copter actually was descending.

The NTSB quickly examined the helicopter, post-crash. Its preliminary report issued in February 2020, stated there was no evidence of “catastrophic mechanical failure.” There are 1,700 pages of investigative documents.

The crash prompted several lawsuits that have yet to be settled. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, filed negligence suits against the pilot, the helicopter company and the owner of the helicopter. Meanwhile, the helicopter company filed suit against the air traffic controllers saying they caused the accident.