Fans Mourn the Loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant was Flying aboard a luxury helicopter with a veteran pilot at the controls, Kobe Bryant and his seven fellow passengers should have had few worries.
Their Sikorsky S-76B that might whisk them roughly 90 miles from Orange to Ventura Counties, crossing over the heart of Los Angeles, was “like the Cadillac Escalade” of choppers, recalled Kurt Deetz, a former pilot for Bryant.
That model is a sleek craft with dual engines equipped with “all the bells and whistles,” Deetz said.
Yet it lacked a key safety feature a terrain awareness and warning system, TAWS, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Tuesday. The NTSB had recommended it’s required on large passenger-carrying choppers after a Texas crash in 2004, but that never happened.
The remains of the retired NBA superstar, his 13-year-old daughter and therefore the others have now been recovered. Their relatives are notified, Los Angeles County authorities said.
NTSB investigators finished collecting evidence Tuesday, hauling wreckage out on helicopters in large white bags to be trucked away from the 600-foot debris field. While the cause is it yet to be determined, the thick, gray clouds that obscured much of the area Sunday are being scrutinized as a possible cause.
A body is carried from the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and several others in Calabasas, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
“We aren’t just focusing on the weather. We are getting to take a broad look at everything around this accident,” said Jennifer Homendy, the NTSB board member leading the investigation.
• Was pilot Ara Zobayan flying too fast, more than 150 miles per hour, and too low in moments before the crash?
• Had he become lost?
• Did the helicopter, despite all of the security features built into it, incur a mechanical failure?
Besides TAWS, Bryant’s copter also lacked “black boxes” that would aid investigators, Homendy said.
NTSB had also previously recommended flight data and cockpit recorders for helicopters, to no avail, Homendy said. Investigators, however, have radar tracking and communications with traffic controllers.