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A little over a year to the date Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other passengers lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash. Federal investigators are putting into place more helicopter safety protocols after concluding the accident was entirely preventable.
After hours of testimony and deliberation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilot Ara Zobayan went beyond the limits of bad weather flying rules. Crash-resistant data, voice, and image recorders have been recommended for turbine-powered helicopters like the Sikorsky S-76B that Zobanyan was piloting that fatal day. A cockpit voice recorder that had been previously fitted for the helicopter had been removed.
The FAA responded saying:
it takes NTSB recommendations very seriously and will respond preliminarily to them within 90 days.
Investigators also expressed that the pilot had developed a very close friendship with Bryant, leading to a self-imposed pressure to fly in hazardous conditions. NTSB board member Thomas Chapman did not officially conclude that pressure played a part in the crash. Still, he did acknowledge that pilots tend to please and impress influential people who charter their services.
Along with Bryant and Gianna, those that lost their lives in this crash were Gianna’s teammates Payton Chester, 13; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester, 45; Alyssa’s parents John Altobelli, 56, and Keri Altobelli, 46; assistant coach Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Zobanyan, 50.
Written by Omari Jahi
Washington Post: Helicopter pilot in crash that killed Kobe Bryant didn’t follow training when flying into disorienting clouds, investigators say, Ian Duncan
USA Today: Tragedy, then lawsuits: The vast legal fallout of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash, Tom Schad
CNN: Kobe Bryant helicopter crashed after pilot pushed limits and disregarded training, NTSB says, Pete Muntean, Madeline Holcombe, and Gregory Wallace
Featured Image by Thenabster126 Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by James Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License