Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Investigation Reveals New Details

The NTSB shares new information from the investigation into the helicopter that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna and seven others

By Cydney Contreras Feb 07, 2020 9:18 PMTags
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Investigators are releasing new details about the helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight others.

On Friday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on their investigation into the tragedy that took place on Jan. 26. In the 11-page report, the investigators reveal the helicopters engine was fully operational at the time of the crash, due to the fact that they "found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact."

The report also states, "The instrument panel was destroyed and most instruments were displaced from their panel mounts. Flight controls were fragmented and fire damaged." This indicates there was a "post-crash fire" at the scene of the accident and the crash was not likely caused mechanical failure. 

Despite the significant damage sustained on impact, the NTSB says, "The engines were recovered for detailed disassembly examination."

Included in the report is an account from a witness who was present in the area at the time of the crash. This individual told the NTSB the hillside was "surrounded by mist."

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"He said he began to hear the sound of a helicopter, which he described as appropriate for a helicopter flying while in a powered condition. He perceived the sound getting louder and saw a blue and white helicopter emerge from the clouds passing from left to right directly to his left," they share. "He judged it to be moving fast, travelling on a forward and descending trajectory. It started to roll to the left such that he caught a glimpse of its belly. He observed it for one to two seconds, before it impacted terrain about 50 feet below his position."

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Furthermore, the report states, "The helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder (CVR) nor was it required to be for the accident flight." However, the investigative team was able to recover some electronic equipment, in addition to "a number of personal electronic devices."

"Additional information will be released as warranted," the report concludes. This is just a preliminary report, as investigators don't expect to reach a conclusion for at least a year. 

As the NTSB continues their investigation, the victims' families are making arrangements for memorials. On Friday, Vanessa Bryant confirmed there will be a public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna on Feb. 24 at the Staples Center. Details about the services will be announced in the coming days.