The National Transportation Safety Board released an investigative update on the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others on Feb. 7. The report, which was obtained by HollywoodLife, includes a heartbreaking final photo of the Sikorsky S-76B chopper disappearing into thick fog, taken from a security camera, during its final flight on Jan. 26. A witness also shared a photo with the agency that shows a ball of fire that erupted after the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas. At the time of publishing, the preliminary report on the crash was still pending.
“Our investigators have already developed a substantial amount of evidence about the circumstances of this tragic crash,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement. “And we are confident that we will be able to determine its cause as well as any factors that contributed to it so we can make safety recommendations to prevent accidents like this from occurring again.” A full report on the crash from the NTSB could take up to a year before it’s released. Investigators will further look at weather conditions, the pilot and his company’s history, as well as any possible mechanical issues.
Kobe, Gianna, six others and the pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, were en route from Orange County to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA for Gianna’s basketball tournament at the time the chopper went down, just hours before the 2020 Grammy Awards. Their cause of deaths were determined to have been from the blunt force trauma from the crash, the LA County Coroner’s Office recently revealed. The manner of their sudden and tragic deaths was also listed as an “accident.” Kobe left behind grieving wife Vanessa, 37, and daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and seven-month-old Capri.