Researchers have concluded that the pilot of the helicopter in which Kobe Bryant crashed may have violated flight rules, after months of investigation. Basketball icon Bryant, his daughter Gianna (13) and seven others were killed in the accident.
According to investigators, the pilot, Ara Zobayan, flew through clouds as he was heading from Orange County to Ventura County in the US state of California, which is not permitted under US rules for helicopter pilots. They should always be able to see where they are flying. The pilot is said to have climbed due to dense fog.
The researchers concluded that the pilot lost direction in the clouds, after which the helicopter crashed in the hills of the town of Calabasas. All nine passengers, including the pilot, were killed. No mechanical defects were found.
The accident could not be completely rebuilt because the black box was missing from the helicopter. The black box records exactly the actions the pilot takes during flight. Black box presence was not mandatory in helicopters in the United States at the time.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed a lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter last year. According to her, the pilot had to abort the flight due to bad weather. And she couldn’t understand that there were no warning systems in the helicopter.
“I think there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna will be alive today if their helicopter is equipped with the safety equipment that the new federal law will require soon,” she said in a statement in June 2020 when Congress passed new legislation. With more than six passengers on board.
The helicopter crashed in the Calabasas hills.
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