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Kobe Bryant‘s helicopter: NTSB to hold February hearing to determine cause of deadly crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Wednesday (January 13), they will hold a hearing February 9 to determine the probable cause of the crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people.

According to Reuters, last June the board said the pilot of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles into a hilly terrain likely encountered fog and became disoriented.

Pilot Ara Zobayan radioed air traffic controllers that his chopper was attempting to climb out of heavy clouds when instead it was descending before slamming into a hill near Calabasas.

The board said pilots can become confused about an aircraft’s attitude and acceleration when they are unable to see their surroundings.

“Without outside references or attention to the helicopter’s attitude display, the actual pitch and bank angles have the potential to be misperceived,” the NTSB said in June.

Days after the tragic crash, an NTSB board member told reporters that clouds and fog caused limited visibility in the foothills north of L.A. would be a primary focus of the investigation.

In February 2020, the board said an examination of the helicopter’s engines and rotors found no evidence of “catastrophic mechanical failure.”

On January 26, Kobe and Gianna were headed to a basketball tournament at Mamba Academy in California when they died in a helicopter crash.

Seven others, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and pilot Zobayan, died in the fatal crash as well.