NTSB Says Kobe Bryant Helicopter Pilot Was Likely Disoriented in Clouds, Leading to Fatal Crash
Feb 9, 2021
Just over a year after the January 26, 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant
, his daughter Gianna
, and seven others, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) is meeting to determine the accident's probable cause.
During a public, livestreamed hearing on Tuesday
, members of the NTSB said that pilot Ara Zobayan flew through clouds ahead of the crash last year, which is an apparent violation of federal standards and likely led to him being spatially disorientated, the Associated Press reported.
"He was flying under visual flight rules (VFR), which legally prohibited him from penetrating clouds," NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said. "However, he continued this VFR flight through the clouds, into instrument meterological conditions."
The Bryants, as well as passengers John Altobelli
, Keri Altobelli
, Alyssa Altobelli
, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester
, and Christina Mauser
, were traveling to a basketball tournament at Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, at the time of the crash into a hillside in Calabasas.
The NTSB meeting is ongoing as of 11 a.m. EST Tuesday.