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New Report Details Cause of Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

The pilot of the helicopter that was carrying Kobe Bryant and his daughter was disoriented while flying through clouds before the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said this week.

A few weeks after the one year anniversary of Bryant’s death, Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of the NTSB, said during a hearing that pilot Ara Zobayan was in violation of visual flight rules and became disoriented in the clouds when he couldn’t see where he was going, according to The Associated Press.

The January 26 crash of last year killed all nine people on the flight including the pilot, Bryant, and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California when the pilot tried breaking free of the clouds and hit the side of a hill.

The board has previously stated that there was no mechanical failure with the aircraft and that it appeared to be an accident. There was no “black box” recording from the flight, either.

News about the fatal flight came during a federal hearing on the probable cause for the crash, according to the AP. The crash has prompted several lawsuits and congressional intervention. The wire service stated that the NTSB is likely to make further recommendations to prevent another crash like this from happening again.

A bill has also been sponsored in Congress called the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act that would make Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems mandatory in helicopters that carry more than six people. The system helps warn pilots if they are about to crash.

The NTSB could possibly recommend this system to the Federal Aviation Administration or the Coast Guard, according to The Associated Press.