SIX METRES FROM SAFETY: INVESTIGATORS REVEAL HEARTBREAKING DETAILS OF KOBE BRYANT CHOPPER CRASH

• NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said at Tuesday’s news conference that the helicopter was at 2,300 feet when it lost communication with air traffic controllers. The helicopter was descending at more than 2,000 feet per minute at the time of impact.

• “So we know that this was a high-energy impact crash, and the helicopter was in a descending left bank,” Homendy said.

• Homendy said her agency had recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration 16 years ago require that all choppers carrying six or more passengers be equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, adding that the FAA has “failed to act” on the proposal.

• Because the FAA didn’t follow the recommendation, the chopper that crashed Sunday was not legally required to have the system.

• Shortly after her news conference, an FAA spokesman disputed that assessment, noting that the FAA requires the terrain alarm system for helicopter air ambulance operations.

• Meanwhile, shocking footage has emerged revealing the tragic extent of the rubble that lies in the wake of the crash.


KOBE BRYANT AND HIS DAUGHTER GIANNA WERE TRAGICALLY LOST ALONG WITH SEVEN OTHERS

NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said at Tuesday’s news conference that the helicopter was at 2,300 feet when it lost communication with air traffic controllers. The helicopter was descending at more than 2,000 feet per minute at the time of impact.


“So we know that this was a high-energy impact crash, and the helicopter was in a descending left bank,” Homendy said.


Homendy said her agency had recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration 16 years ago require that all choppers carrying six or more passengers be equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, adding that the FAA has “failed to act” on the proposal.


Because the FAA didn’t follow the recommendation, the chopper that crashed Sunday was not legally required to have the system.


FLIGHT RECORDS ALSO SHOW THAT THE HELICOPTER WAS CIRCLING AT A HEIGHT OF 600 FEET AROUND THIS TIME, WHICH THE VIDEO REFLECTS, AND THE CLOUD COVER AND FOG MATCHES UP WITH THE FORECAST FOR SUNDAY MORNING IN THAT AREA.

Shortly after her news conference, an FAA spokesman disputed that assessment, noting that the FAA requires the terrain alarm system for helicopter air ambulance operations.


Meanwhile, shocking footage has emerged revealing the tragic extent of the rubble that lies in the wake of the crash.


THE SIKORSKY S-76B HELICOPTER THAT CARRIED KOBE AND EIGHT OTHERS

Government investigators released the official pictures of authorities scouring the crash site, which shows parts of the helicopter strewn across a field Calabasas, California.


One investigator can be seen moving around parts of the charred and mangled fuselage, as the camera shoes the helicopter’s nose and a wheel that snapped off in the crash on Monday (AEDT).


The NTSB footage comes as all nine victims were recovered from the crash site, which had been described by the local sherriff as a “nightmare”.


THE HELICOPTER PLUNGED SHARPLY AFTER THE PILOT LOST RADIO CONTACT
AN INVESTGATOR SIFTS THROUGH THE WRECKAGE
NINE PEOPLE WERE KILLED, INCLUDING KOBE BRYANT AND HIS DAUGHTER
THE WHEEL AT THE CRASH SITE
THE HELICOPTER'S ENGINE AT THE CRASH SITE

Earlier, a video emerged Bryant’s doomed flight from just 31 minutes before it crashed, killing everyone on board.


The eyewitness, whose location has been verified by matching it to the flight path of Bryant’s chopper, says they started filming after hearing a loud noise and witnessing a “very aggressive circling maneuver”.


“I try and video /photograph all the weird stuff happening above my house in Glendale,CA,” @theironlydreams wrote on Twitter.




“Unfortunately this morning I didn’t realize I was filming the helicopter Kobe Bryant, his daughter and others were in 31 minutes before they crashed.

THE HELICOPTER ULTIMATELY PLUNGED INTO A HILLSIDE AT 9.45AM SUNDAY, WITH AN IMPACT THAT SCATTERED DEBRIS OVER AN AREA THE SIZE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD AND KILLED EVERYONE ABOARD.

“The pilot was performing a very aggressive circling maneuver, that’s why I went outside to Film because it was so loud.”


According to Reuters, the footage was filmed at 9.29am in Glendale’s Vineyard neighbourhood and appears to align with the flight path of Kobe’s helicopter ride.


The news agency cited metadata from the phone used to take the video.


Video verification company Storyful believes they have confirmed the footage is of Bryant’s helicopter, by verifying the location of filming and lining up the flight path with the metadata.


The route of the helicopter did bring the aircraft into the airspace above the house of the person who posted the video to Twitter. That area is not a common place for helicopters of airplanes to hold either and in most cases, the aircraft would fly through the valley and instead circle the airport.


. "UNFORTUNATELY THIS MORNING I DIDN’T REALIZE I WAS FILMING THE HELICOPTER KOBE BRYANT, HIS DAUGHTER AND OTHERS WERE IN 31 MINUTES BEFORE THEY CRASHED."
THE EYEWITNESS CLAIMS THE "PILOT WAS PERFORMING A VERY AGGRESSIVE CIRCLING MANEUVER"

Flight records also show that the helicopter was circling at a height of 600 feet around this time, which the video reflects, and the cloud cover and fog matches up with the forecast for Sunday morning in that area.


The helicopter ultimately plunged into a hillside at 9.45am Sunday, with an impact that scattered debris over an area the size of a football field and killed everyone aboard.


The pilot of the helicopter, identified by friends as Ara Zobayan, told air traffic control he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer just before the aircraft crashed, federal investigators said.

THE PILOT OF THE HELICOPTER, IDENTIFIED BY FRIENDS AS ARA ZOBAYAN, TOLD AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL HE WAS CLIMBING TO AVOID A CLOUD LAYER JUST BEFORE THE AIRCRAFT CRASHED, FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS SAID.

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy told reporters that when Zobayan was asked what he “planned to do, there was no reply.”


“Radar data indicates the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn,” she added. “Last radar contact was around 9:45 a.m. and is consistent with the accident location.”


There was no final reply from Zobayan as the helicopter chillingly plunged into hilly terrain, killing Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, the pilot and six other passengers.


Authorities received a 911 call at 9:47 a.m. reporting the helicopter crash and subsequent brush fire on a hillside in Calabasas.

Zobayan, who was reportedly “instrument-rated,” meaning he was able to fly in fog and clouds, had received special permission minutes earlier to fly at less than the basic visual flight rules of a 1,000-foot ceiling and three miles of visibility Sunday morning, investigators said.


Homendy said there was no black box for Bryant’s aircraft and that there was no requirement to have one. The helicopter did have an iPad that the pilot used during the flight, she said, adding that investigators would be looking at other electronics.


Meanwhile, three bodies have been recovered from the crash site as devastating photos of the charred and blazing debris emerge.

NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD MEMBER JENNIFER HOMENDY TOLD REPORTERS THAT WHEN ZOBAYAN WAS ASKED WHAT HE “PLANNED TO DO, THERE WAS NO REPLY.”

The remains of the deceased have been taken away from the Los Angeles hillside and will undergo coroner’s office examinations in the coming days, officials told The Sun.


So far the three bodies have not been identified, and authorities told the Los Angeles Times that the process could go on for several days.


Kobe and Gianna were on their way to the NBA legend’s Mamba Sports Academy youth training center in Thousand Oaks, California when they were killed in the fatal chopper crash.


They died alongside college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa, Christina Mauser, a coach at Mamba Sports Academy, passengers Sarah and Payton Chester and pilot Ara Zobayan.


Photos from the crash scene show the devastating wreck and the surrounding debris engulfed in flames.


The photographer, who has asked to remain anonymous, captured the photos from Las Virgenes Road In Calabasas at 9.49am Sunday.


THREE BODIES HAVE BEEN RECOVERED FROM THE FIERY WRECK AT THE CRASH SITE WHERE KOBE BRYANT WAS KILLED

He was on a mountain bike ride with a friend when the two spotted the Sikorsky S-76B.


The source said: “It was foggy and we heard a low flying helicopter.


“Out of the fog came a helicopter and it slammed into the mountainside about 200 feet from where we were standing.


“We were close enough that we could feel the air from the propellers.


“There was a huge fireball.


“One of the helicopter doors landed about 10 to 15 feet away from us.


“Helicopter parts were flying everywhere. There was very little left of the helicopter.”


The man admitted that he and his friend were concerned about their own safety, but they still rushed to the crash site in the hope that they may be able to help.


THE HELICOPTER ASCENDED NEARLY 2,130 FEET INTO THE AIR BEFORE IT SUDDENLY DESCENDED RAPIDLY

“We rushed down to see if we could help but there were obviously no survivors.


“My friend called 911 and we stayed there until the fire helicopter came and lowered down a fireman.


“We gave our information to the sheriff’s department.


“We didn’t realise that Kobe Bryant was in the helicopter until we got back down to the parking lot.


“Just the fact that a whole helicopter full of people crashed was shocking to us.”


Kurt Deetz, Kobe Bryant’s former pilot, told CNN that the chopper that carried the NBA all-star and eight others is a “reliable” aircraft, one that’s unlikely to just “fall out of the sky.”


Deetz, who shuttled Bryant around in 2015, described the helicopter as a “very complex” aircraft that’s meant to be flown by highly trained pilots with “a couple thousand hours” of experience.


BASKETBALL COACH CHRISTINA MAUSER WAS ALSO TRAVELLING ON THE DOOMED HELICOPTER

“There aren’t a lot of people readily qualified to fly it,” he said.


“They don’t just fall out of the sky.”


The rugged terrain near the crash site in California has made the ongoing search difficult for first responders, who toiled into the late hours of Sunday evening.


Officials told TMZ they momentarily suspended the search due to darkness and safety concerns, but resumed Monday morning.


Police have asked fans and curious passersby to stay away from the crash site to avoid interfering with the investigation.


JOHN AND KERI ALTOBELLI WERE ALSO KILLED IN THE CRASH
SARAH CHESTER AND HER DAUGHTER PAYTON ALSO DIED

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the site a “logistical nightmare”.


“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” he said.


“We have to reiterate it’s off limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.


“It is in very rough terrain and it’s very dangerous even in daylight, much less in the middle of the night.”