NTSB says Kobe Bryant helicopter crash left ‘devastating accident scene’

UNTV News   •   January 28, 2020   •   413

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on Monday (January 27) for the public to give it any photographs or video that might have been taken of the weather in the area of the helicopter wreck that killed basketball star Kobe Bryant.

The crash on Sunday (January 28) left a “devastating accident scene,” NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said.

“We have a request for the public. We’re looking for photos of the weather in the area of the crash. If you have photos that can help us, again, in the area of the crash, if you could send those photos to witness-at-ntsb-dot-gov,” she said.

Air traffic controller recordings showed the pilot was flying too low to be monitored in fog.

“The pilot advised they were climbing to avoid a cloud layer,” Homendy said. “Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn. Last radar contact was around 9:45 a.m. and is consistent with the accident location.”

Coroner’s investigators said on Monday they had recovered three bodies from the crash site and were searching for more remains.

The Sikorsky S-76 chopper slammed into a steep hillside on outside Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, killing all nine people on board, igniting a brush fire and spreading debris over hundreds of feet of grassy terrain.

The NTSB offered no update on the search for victims but said investigators were expected to be on the scene for as many as five days.

Bryant, who won five NBA championships in his 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was known since his playing days to travel frequently by helicopter to avoid the Los Angeles area’s glacial traffic. (Reuters)

(Production: Jane Ross, Krystian Orlinski)

Vanessa Bryant: There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 30, 2020

The word ‘grief’ is not enough to describe the pain of losing a love one.

Vanessa Bryant expressed her devastation on Instagram after her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Sunday (January 26).

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” she said.

There will be no words but only emptiness: in the shoes that will never set foot on the court, mugs that will never be filled during a beautiful Sunday morning, or family pictures that will never be the same.

Bryant also expressed her gratitude to the people who offered their support. She also asked everyone to grant them “the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”

“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” she said in her post.

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

She also offered her condolences to the other victims of the crash and called on the public to support the other families affected by the tragedy.

“To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.
To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org,” she said.—AAC

Authorities identify remains of Kobe Bryant, 3 others

Maris Federez   •   January 29, 2020

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has announced that they have already identified the body of four of the nine passengers of the private helicopter that crashed into a Calabasas, California, hillside on Sunday, US Pacific time.

The Coroner said the four bodies recovered, including that of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, were officially identified through the use of fingerprints.

The other three bodies were that of Orange Coast College Basketball Coach John Altobelli, Sarah Chester – the mother of Payton Chester who was one of those who perished and Gianna Bryant’s teammate, and Ara Zobayan, the pilot.

Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining bodies.

Initially, three of the nine fatalities were recovered on Sunday, while the other six were retrieved on Monday.

The Coroner’s office said they will immediately announce the names of the other five once they have confirmed their identities and have their respective families informed.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said investigation is still underway as to the cause of the crash of Bryant’s private Sikorsky S-76.

The investigators have flown drone over the crash site to secure needed videos. They have also gathered the debris of the chopper.

“We also worked with drones today, to document the scene and then we duplicated part of the flight path. So, we flew part of the end part of the flight path with our drones using ADSB data,” said NTSB member Jennifer Homendy.

Homendy said the chopper didn’t have flight data or cockpit voice recorder as it is not a requirement on the model of LA Lakers superstar’s chopper to have a black box.

However, the investigators were able to make use of the pilot’s ipad that was recovered at the crash site as he was using the foreflight app installed in it.

The app was a big help to the investigators in reviewing the flight plan and the other circumstances surrounding the accident.

“We were able to recover an iPad and a cell phone. We do not know if that’s the pilot’s iPad so we are going to take those personal electronic devices, we are going to send them back to our lab at headquarters for further analysis,” Homendy said.

Homendy further said that the preliminary information suggests that the chopper descended rapidly and crashed with a “high energy impact”.

“We know that the helicopter was at 2300 ft (700 meters) when it lost communication with air traffic control. The descent rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 ft (600 meters) a minute, so, we know that this was a high energy impact crash,” Homendy added. — (with details from Bernard Dadis) /mbmf

Kobe Bryant helicopter involved in ‘high energy impact’ crash, says NTSB

UNTV News   •   January 29, 2020

Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Investigators said on Tuesday (January 28) that the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant was involved in a “high energy impact crash” when it slammed into a hillside in foggy weather on Sunday, killing the basketball star and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter.

“We know that the helicopter was at 2300 ft (700 meters) when it lost communication with air traffic control. The descent rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 ft (600 meters) a minute, so, we know that this was a high energy impact crash,” Jennifer Homendy, of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

As the helicopter crash probe entered its second full day in the foothills just outside Calabasas, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the NTSB investigators combed through the wreckage and used drones as they sought uncover the cause of the accident.

“We were able to recover an iPad and a cell phone. We do not know if that’s the pilot’s iPad so we are going to take those personal electronic devices, we are going to send them back to our lab at headquarters for further analysis,” said Homendy.

“We also worked with drones today, to document the scene and then we duplicated part of the flight path. So, we flew part of the end part of the flight path with our drones using ADSB data,” she added.

Low clouds, fog and limited visibility over the region at the time of the crash have emerged as a prominent focus of the investigation. (Reuters)

(Production: Omar Younis)

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