The death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a tragic helicopter accident back on Jan. 26 seems like eons ago. It shook the sports world and the entire globe.
We now have some more information regarding what could have led to the tragedy.
Pilot in Kobe Bryant’s tragic helicopter accident might have been disoriented
Well respected within the Hollywood elite, Ara Zobayan had flown choppers around Southern California for years. Other NBA players such as Kawhi Leonard rode with Mr. Zobayan in the past.
Unfortunately, the weather conditions in Southern California the morning of Bryant’s tragic passing were not great. We now have more information via the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).
According to multiple reports, Zobayan could have been disoriented by fog immediately before the chopper went down.
“Ara Zobayan radioed to air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds on Jan. 26 when, in fact, the helicopter was plunging toward a hillside where it crashed northwest of Los Angeles,” the AP noted. “The report by the National Transportation Safety Board said Zobayan may have ‘misperceived’ the angles at which he was descending and banking, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility.”
The full 1,700-page report does not give definitive findings regarding what ultimately caused the crash, but this most certainly played a role.
Ara Zobayan was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash
This is important to note. According to the findings by the National Transportation Safety Board, Zobayan’s confusion stemmed from the fog.
He was not under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, according to a report back in May. It sure looks like this was a tragic accident caused by human error in horrible weather conditions.
Following Bryant’s tragic passing, his widow, Vanessa, sued the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department over photos being released at the site of the accident. She has also sued the helicopter company and Zobayan’s estate.