The National Transportation Safety Board held a press conference today with new details surrounding Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter crash.
The horrific accident claimed the lives of Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others on Sunday morning. The group was headed to a youth basketball camp in Thousand Oaks when they hit a mountain.
According to Deadline, NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Homendy told reporters that the chopper was descending at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute, causing a “high-energy impact.”
She also noted that the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter did not have a “terrain awareness and warning system,” or TAWS, which alerts pilots when they are too close to the ground. As of right now, the FAA only requires the system in air ambulances.
Variety also noted, Homendy said they believe the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was attempting to ascend above the cloud layer when the crash occurred.
She said there was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorders onboard, which may have assisted in the investigation. An iPad and phone were recovered at the scene, but it is unknown at this time who they belonged to.
The NTSB will likely issue a preliminary report in the next 10 days. The agency is still working at the site, but it has turned it over to local authorities. A more detailed follow-up will be issued in 12 to 18 months.
The NTSB is looking at weather and other factors, and has obtained maintenance and airworthiness records. Interviews with air traffic controllers and the helicopter’s operators are underway.
The agency released a video of the site where Bryant's helicopter crashed on a Calabasas hillside.
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner also released a statement today, confirming four of the victims killed in the accident.
With the help of the Special Operations Response Team, they have identified Bryant, Zobayan, John Altobelli and Sarah Chester.
The other victims are believed to be Gianna, Christina Mauser, Chester’s daughter Payton, and Altobelli’s wife Keri and daughter Alyssa.