It’s been one year since the NBA legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13 year-old daughter Gianna and thirteen others. Now, chilling details about this crash are coming to light.
Entertainment Tonight reported that the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the crash, which occurred on January 26, 2020, has been closed. The full report from this probe was just released, and it found no evidence of internal engine failure.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB, spoke out to say that helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan flew into the clouds in an apparent violation of federal standards. He added that Zobayan was flying under “visual flight rules,” meaning it was a necessity to see where he was going during his flight.
Sumwalt went on to say that after Zobayan flew into the clouds, it is likely that he developed “spatial disorientation,” which is a situation in which a pilot cannot correctly interpret aircraft attitude, altitude or airspeed in relation to the Earth or other points of reference.
It had previously been revealed that Zobayan told air traffic controllers that he was climbing when he actually was descending. It is believed that he “misperceived” the angles at which he was descending and banking, which is something that can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility.
Sumwalt also said that there is “no evidence that Island Express, the air charter broker or the client [Kobe Bryant] placed pressure on the pilot to accept the charter flight request or complete the flight and adverse weather.”
Last March, Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that owned the helicopter that crashed. In this lawsuit, she claimed that Zobayan “had a duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances.” A spokesperson for the company said in response, “This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation.”
Just before the one year anniversary of the crash, Vanessa opened up about how difficult this has been for her, while also saying she needs to stay strong for her 17-year-old daughter Natalia, 4-year-old Bianka and 1-year-old Capri.
“Let me be real – Grief is a messed up cluster of emotions,” she admitted on her Instagram Story. “One day you’re in the moment laughing and the next day you don’t feel like being alive. I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it’s hard.”
“I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them,” Vanessa added. “Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t. Find your reason.”