(HorizonPost.com) – On the morning of January 26, 2020, a helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA, heading for Newberry Park, but it never made it past Calabasas. It crashed there, and the accident claimed the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, six other passengers, and the pilot.
After an extensive investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the aircraft operator’s poor decision-making was the primary cause. The pilot was operating under special VFR (Visual Flight Rules), which prohibits flying into clouds. When he reportedly tried to avoid flying into a cloud layer near hilly terrain, he ended up crashing into the hillside.
Investigators: Pilot in Kobe Bryant crash appeared to violate flight standards, likely became disoriented in clouds. https://t.co/kPbjim411x
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 9, 2021
The report says they suspect the pilot may have suffered from a bout of spatial disorientation — he literally could not tell up from down — so when he believed the helicopter was gaining altitude to clear the heights, he ended up flying into the ground. The NTSB noted that there are absolutely no indications that the charter company or Bryant himself pressured the pilot into making such an ill-considered decision.
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