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27 Jan, 2020 23:32

Kobe Bryant’s fateful helicopter flight details REVEALED online as authorities work to ID victims (VIDEO)

Kobe Bryant’s fateful helicopter flight details REVEALED online as authorities work to ID victims (VIDEO)

New details have emerged about the helicopter crash in California that took the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others, including an audio recording from the pilot. As of Monday, three bodies have been recovered.

The authorities have said they will not identify anyone involved in the Sunday crash until a coroner’s report comes in and the bodies are fully recovered. Thus far, only three bodies have been recovered, according to the LA County Coroner’s Office. 

However, multiple outlets have reported the identities of the the passengers besides Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the pilot, identified in the media as Ara Zobayan. They reportedly include John, Keri and Alyssa Alotbella. John Alotbella was the head baseball coach at Orange County College, according to CBS News. Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at Harbor Day School where Gianna attended, was confirmed as another victim of the crash, according to a Facebook post from her husband.

Payton Chester and her mother Sarah have also been reported as being onboard. Payton was a teammate of Gianna’s. 

Flying blind: Timeline of incident emerges

Air traffic chatter shows that Bryant’s Sikorsky S-76B helicopter had been given special permission to fly in dangerous conditions, according to audio posted by LiveATC.net. Zobayan requested to fly under special visual flights rules (SVFR), which is clearance for pilots to fly in weather conditions normally considered dangerous.

The special request came as the helicopter faced thick morning fog. Air traffic controllers had noted poor visibility in Burbank, which was just north of where the helicopter went down. 

After taking off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County at around nine in the morning, the helicopter was held up for about 10 minutes around Glendale for other aircraft. They were then given clearance to continue their journey and began going west following US Route 101, the Ventura Highway. 

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At around 9:44 am the helicopter turned southeast and climbed more than 2000 feet, presumably to escape the bad conditions and put distance between it and the hilly terrain below. It then descended and crashed into a hillside over Calabasas, killing the pilot and the eight passengers. 

The destination for the flight was Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park, which was only 17 miles away.

Zobayan had no record of accidents or incidents with the FAA. 

Conditions were so poor on the day that local police departments had grounded their own choppers and a weather advisory that morning had recommended flying under instrumental flight rules (IFR), which requires pilots to use air traffic controllers to help guide them with waypoints and diagrams. This, however, can be time-consuming.

“It takes away their ability to do whatever they want to do,” Paul Cline, an assistant professor of aviation at the City University of New York, told New York Magazine about pilots’ general displeasure with flying under IFR.

Cline said such a request can also leave you in a holding pattern for up to an hour.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the site, and a preliminary report could be available within 10 days, but investigations into aviation crashes can take months to make a final determination. 

Bryant, who played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was 41 years old. His death has prompted responses from many fellow athletes, as well as politicians including US President Donald Trump. 

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