Report: Bryant’s Helicopter Flew in Conditions That Grounded Police Choppers

The impact of the crash scattered debris over an area the size of a football field

Bryant’s Helicopter Flew in Conditions That Grounded Police Choppers
Emergency crews respond to a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant. (Photo by LASD via Getty Images)
By Evan Bleier / January 27, 2020 9:49 am

Though multiple agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, are still in the early stages of investigating the fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others, some details about the hillside have started to emerge.

One of them is that, according to The Associated Press, the helicopter carrying Bryant and the rest of his party on Sunday was flying in foggy conditions that were deemed dangerous enough that local police agencies had grounded their choppers.

“We do know there was an issue with visibility and a low ceiling,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Sunday evening. “The actual conditions at the time of impact, that is still yet to be determined.”

Flying in poor visibility which was noted by air traffic controllers, the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter climbed to more than 2,000 feet before plunging from the sky and slamming into a hillside in Calabasas at about 1,400 feet.

When it hit the ground, the helicopter was flying at about 184 miles per hour and descending at a rate of more than 4000 feet per minute, according to data from Flightradar24.

The impact of the crash scattered debris over an area the size of a football field and Los Angeles County medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said it would take a couple of days to recover all the remains so official identifications can be made.

In addition to Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in the crash. The other confirmed victims are Orange Coast College baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. The sixth confirmed victim is Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach, USA Today reports.

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