NTSB to hold hearing on Kobe Bryant helicopter crash investigation

Investigation continues in crash that left nine people dead, including the Bryants
Posted at 1:42 PM, Jan 26, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The tragic helicopter crash that left nine people dead, including Kobe Bryant, also left many questions unanswered.

Additionally, it led to numerous lawsuits being filed by families of the victims.

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, is suing Island Express Helicopters for the wrongful deaths of her husband and daughter.

The complaint alleges the pilot didn’t properly monitor the weather or abort the flight due to unsafe conditions.

The pilot Ara Zobayan radioed to air traffic controllers that he was flying higher when he was actually descending, according to an NTSB report.

13 Action News spoke with ABC World News Aviation Analyst John Nance about this crash.

“From that point where he started that left turn and that descent on down, there was really nothing there that a sane man, a competent pilot would do voluntarily,” said Nance. “So, that means we have a pilot who was not really in control of the (helicopter) or basically was not physiologically with us at that point.”

He said it is almost impossible to prove when the wreckage was as bad as it was in this incident.

Nance also added that with commercial cockpits, cameras are desperately needed, but he said that has been fought by the Air Line Pilots Association.

“Here with a helicopter, we are never going to have that type of thing, but we really could use it because the flight path in this helicopter was not one that a competent pilot would ever fly,” said Nance.

“I think this was a very unfortunate circumstance that came together. The weather was a part of it but was not the cause of it. I think there was something here that had to do with the capability of the pilot to stay conscious. We probably will never know for sure what happened.”

Vanessa Bryant is also suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over photos of the crash that were leaked to the public.

Christina Mauser’s husband, Matthew Mauser, filed a similar lawsuit last month.

The NTSB is scheduled to hold a hearing on Feb. 9 to determine the cause of the helicopter crash.