Kobe Bryant: Officials Set Date for Probable Cause Announcement of Tragic Helicopter Crash

by Chris Haney

The National Transportation Safety Board has set a date to formally announce their investigative findings from the tragic helicopter crash that killed former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.

The independent government agency said that they will hold a virtual board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9. In addition, the meeting will be live-streamed and available to the public. After more than a year on the case, NTSB investigators are ready to reveal the probable cause of the Jan. 26, 2020 crash that took the lives of nine people.

The crash took the lives of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Additionally, their friends Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Payton Chester and Sarah Chester died in the accident. Furthermore, the aircraft’s pilot Ara Zobayan, who also perished, has been widely criticized for flying on a foggy day.

Subsequently, the NTSB’s preliminary findings ruled out helicopter malfunctions including engine failure. A few months later, officials announced that Zobayan could’ve become disoriented while in thick fog. Fast forward to June 2020 and the NTSB revealed that they found evidence that the pilot was attempting to ascend above the fog. However, the helicopter was instead plummeting downward.

Further tests including an autopsy on Zobayan showed no traces of alcohol or drugs in the pilot’s system during the crash. Also, the pilot’s girlfriend told NTSB investigators that he seemed to be in great shape leading up to the tragic flight.

The NTSB hasn’t released any new information recently, therefore, it seems as if the agency will confirm its previous findings. The agency’s full report will be revealed in five days, putting a year’s worth of speculation to rest.

Kobe Bryant’s Teammate Shaquille O’Neal Shares Thoughts on Anniversary of His Death

On Jan. 26, the world continued to mourn the loss of NBA great Kobe Bryant on the anniversary of the infamous helicopter crash. As countless fans and media personalities shared thoughts on the Black Mamba and his legacy, an old teammate did the same.

4-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, who won three of those titles with Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, spoke out about his death. Shaq spoke with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith during a heartfelt interview.

“What would Kobe say to all of us now?” Smith asked O’Neal. “He’s in heaven looking down on us; wishing us the best – probably wanting to push us, drive us forward. What would he be saying to us about now as it pertains to how we should be feeling about him and what we all should be doing with ourselves. What would he say in your estimation?”

“He would probably say, ‘Carry on,’” O’Neal replied. “He would probably say, you know, ‘Thank you.’ At age 17, he said ‘I’m going to be the Will Smith of the NBA. … I want to be one of the biggest names to ever grace the basketball court. People are definitely going to remember my name.’”

Shaq and Kobe Bryant may have had a long, at times tumultuous relationship, but he also loved the shooting guard like a brother. The big man called Bryant “a legend” and said he pays tribute to the NBA icon everyday through a mural in his home.

“Every day I see a Kobe highlight,” Shaquille O’Neal said to Smith. “Every day I see a Kobe tribute. … I actually have a mural in my living room.”