After the unfortunate accident that took the lives of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, investigators have been working around the clock to determine the cause of the crash.
According to investigators (National Transportation Safety Board), wreckage from the helicopter that crashed last month did not show any outward evidence of engine failure.
The NTSB is investigating the accident, including any role heavy fog played, and a final report isn’t expected for at least a year.
A witness told the NTSB that the helicopter was flying forward and downward through the fog before it crashed right into the hillside. The witness said he saw the helicopter for one to two seconds before it hit the hill.
The helicopter’s instrument panel was destroyed in the crash and most of the devices were displaced, according to the NTSB’s investigative update. The flight controls were broken and suffered fire damage.
Investigators believe that since a tree branch at the crash site was cut, it appears the engines were working and rotors turning at the time of impact.
Friday’s report was merely informational and did not offer any findings about what caused the crash. The victims’ deaths have been ruled an accident by blunt trauma, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.
Kobe Bryant’s pilot, Ara Zobayan was the chief pilot for Island Express Helicopters and had more than 8,200 hours of flight time. He was additionally certified to fly solely using instruments, a more difficult rating to attain that allows pilots to fly at night and through clouds and was a pilot to other celebrities including Kawhi Leonard and Kylie Jenner.
The 50-year-old pilot’s most recent flight review included training on inadvertently flying into bad weather conditions. It covered how to recover if the aircraft’s nose is pointed too far up or down, and what to do if the helicopter banks severely to one side. The pilot earned satisfactory grades in the review, which took place in May 2018.
The aircraft did not have a device called the Terrain Awareness and Warning System that signals when an aircraft is in danger of hitting ground. The NTSB has recommended the system be mandatory for helicopters but the Federal Aviation Administration only requires it for air ambulances. US senator Dianne Feinstein and US representative Brad Sherman, both California Democrats, have called for the FAA to mandate the devices in the wake of the tragedy.
We will keep you up to speed if there is any update on the ongoing investigation.