- The helicopter that carried Kobe Bryant and eight others before crashing Sunday did not have a warning system that could have alerted the pilot of the hills below him, according to investigators.
- An official from theNational Transportation Safety Boardsaid in a briefing Tuesday that the descent rate of the aircraft was 2,000 feet a minute, which she referred to as a “high-energy-impact crash.”
- The official added that the helicopter missed clearing a hill by 20 to 30 feet.
- Investigators found the remains of all nine victims Tuesday. Four of the victims, including Bryant, were identified by the Los Angeles coroner’s office.
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The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that crashed while transporting the NBA icon Kobe Bryant and eight others did not have a warning system that could have alerted the pilot of the hills below him, according to investigators.
No one survived the Sunday crash in Calabasas, California, roughly 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Investigators had found the remains of all nine victims by Tuesday, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said.
Four victims have been positively identified: Bryant, 41; John Altobelli, 56; Sarah Chester, 45; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50.
On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board held a briefing and gave updated information about its investigation.
The NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said the descent rate of the aircraft was 2,000 feet a minute, which she referred to as a “high-energy-impact crash.”
Homendy said the helicopter didn’t have a terrain awareness warning system, which provides terrain information to the pilot meant to prevent unintentional contact with the ground.
The NTSB in 2006 called on the Federal Aviation Administration to require all US-registered helicopters that carry at least six people to be equipped with the system, but Homendy said the agency “failed to act.”
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter was rolled out before the FAA required the system on new aircraft, according to The Wall Street Journal, which added that retrofitting helicopters to add the system cost an estimated $US25,000 to $US40,000.
Videos from the day of the crash indicate that foggy conditions may have limited poor visibility.
Homendy added that the helicopter was 20 to 30 feet from clearing a hill before the crash.
On Monday, Homendy said the aircraft did not have a flight recorder known as a black box on board, which was not a requirement for the aircraft.
Homendy said the helicopter circled for 12 minutes while awaiting clearance from air-traffic controllers. Then the helicopter climbed to about 2,300 feet to avoid a cloud layer and shortly after started a descending left turn.
The last radar contact with the helicopter was at about 9:45 a.m.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the department was protecting the area surrounding the crash to prevent trespassing.
Bryant was a fixture on the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire 20-year career. He was the fourth all-time scorer in the NBA – having been passed by LeBron James on Saturday – and won five NBA championships.