Pilot flying Kobe Bryant’s helicopter may have become disoriented before deadly crash

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Posted on: June 18, 2020 6:20 pm EDT

More details about the former NBA star’s helicopter crash are being revealed

It was during a January morning when the NBA star Kobe Bryant along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash. Now, a few months after the crash, an investigation has revealed a few text messages prior to the accident in which those on board were concerned about the weather conditions. Based on some records, it seems that the pilot might have become disoriented due to the fog.

Apparently, the weather and visibility were critical to the accident, according to a performance study from the National Transportation Safety Board. This study, spanning more than a thousand pages, gives several details about the investigation, which have been added to the final report in the case that has the intention to determine the exact causes of the crash. For Bryant, it was customary to create a group text in order to keep everyone informed about the flight status. The group text mentioned several concerns about the weather before the flight started; however, the concerns were dismissed by both the pilot and the flight coordinator.

In the records, the flight coordinator asked the aircraft pilot, Ara Zobayan, about the forecast one day before the flight. “Just checked not the best day tomorrow but not as bad as it is today,” Zobayan responded. Then, the pilot checked one more time the next day, “Morning weather looking okay,” he said. Later, less than one hour before the flight, the coordinator asked, “Ara how is [the] weather looking for 9 departure.” And he replied, “Should be OK.” The coordinator texted back, “I agree.”

However, after the helicopter was in the air, things changed. The fog got worse and Zobayan may have become disoriented. Records indicate that he told controllers that he was going to climb to 4,000 feet; however, just seconds later, he was descending. When controllers tried to contact him, he didn’t respond, and the crash occurred seconds later.