The helicopter pilot who killed Kobe Bryant was warned to fly too low



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The helicopter pilot who killed Kobe Bryant was warned to fly too low



A helicopter pilot killed by legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others was warned to fly dangerously low before crashing in the hills of California at nearly 300 miles per hour, the New York Post reports .

In a tragic accident, everyone on the plane was killed.



An audio clip from the control tower reveals that the pilot of the Kobe helicopter was warned to fly too low.

“You're still too low to fly this time,” the pilot was told.

Sources in aviation circles said that the weather around Los Angeles, where the crash happened, was foggy and most of the helicopters were grounded.

Helicopter pilot Kobe Bryant planned to land at Burbank Airport, but circled for about 15 minutes, waiting for landing permits due to bad weather and other aircraft required to land at the airport.

Shortly before the crash, the pilot raised the helicopter to more than 600 meters, then crashed at an altitude of about 500 meters.

Flight data shows that the speed of the helicopter was nearly 300 kilometers per hour.

A source told the New York Post that Bryant's helicopter had two engines, so it wouldn't crash if it was left without one engine. “Accidents like this happen because the pilot loses his sense of space. Given the debris at the crash site, they appear to have crashed into the mountain in front of the helicopter,” the source said.

He added that Kobe's helicopter was 20 years old, and it was a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. They are mostly operated by two pilots, but on Sunday Kobe's helicopter was operated by only one pilot.

“He probably flew by relying on what he sees, not the instruments that monitor the altitude,” the source added.

The helicopter crashed Sunday around 10 a.m. local time above the hilly terrain in Calabasas, California, about 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

“There were no survivors. We have a certificate indicating that there were nine people in the helicopter, a pilot and eight passengers,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference. He declined to identify the victims.

Asked by reporters whether she believed there were nine bodies at the scene, after earlier reports had only indicated five dead, Villanueva said, “We believe that, yes.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among the dead, so he offered his condolences to Bryant's wife Vanessa.

NBC News reported that teammate Bryant's daughter and teammate John Altobelli and the pilot were killed. John Altobelli is the coach of the Orange Coast Baseball Club. Among the dead, according to TMZ, is Christina Mauser. Mauser was a basketball coach. Who the others were killed is unknown at this time.

Police confirmed the weather was poor

Although the cause of the helicopter crash is unknown, the reason could be very bad weather.

CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said there was very poor visibility at the time the helicopter crashed. There was a lot of fog.

“The humidity was 100 percent. That means the air was like soup,” he said.

The bad weather was also confirmed by Los Angeles police. “Weather conditions on Sunday morning did not meet the minimum requirements for Los Angeles police to fly,” spokesman Josh Rubenstein told CNN.

Due to the fog, the Los Angeles police grounded their helicopters on Sunday morning, local time.

Nothing could be seen from the fog, the helicopter circling

According to TMZ, Bryant's helicopter has been circling and changing altitude several times. So he circled the Los Angeles Zoo for a few minutes. Then it flew fairly low, probably waiting for the fog to clear.

At about 9:30 a.m., the pilot contacted Burbank Airport. Then the helicopter circled and then continued on.

At 9:40, they found themselves in the midst of even greater fog. At that point, TMZ reports, the helicopter turned south. This was fatal because he was flying to a mountainous area. The pilot climbed abruptly from a height of 350 meters to a height of 600 meters.

Moments later, it seems they hit the mountain.

The FBI is investigating the accident. Sheriff: This is a logistical nightmare

The FBI is investigating the crash, CNN reported. They are already at the scene of the accident and are assisting local police forces. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the causes of the accident.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the investigation could take weeks. A flight ban was introduced in the area where the accident occurred, and the area was fenced off on the ground as well.

The accident happened near a residential area, Villanueva said.

“Investigation is a logistical nightmare because the crash site does not have good access,” he said. He added that Kobe's fans had recollected themselves at the scene of the crash, which further made it a “logistical nightmare,” CNN reports.

“Our next priority after we do the investigation is to identify and inform the family,” said Jonathan Lucas, coroner of the Los Angeles district.

The helicopter pilot who killed Kobe Bryant was warned to fly too low

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