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The Los Angeles Police Department has revealed that on Sunday morning it had made the decision that all its helicopters in the area landed due to poor flying conditions. However, the device in which the Lakers star Kobe Bryant traveled, decided to fly.
Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna , 13, and seven others, lost their lives after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the Calabasas area, a mountainous area on the outskirts of Los Angeles . Daryl Osby , Los Angeles County fire chief, said in statements to the media collected by the BBC that the accident took place in an area of such difficult access that his team had to climb to get there. The remains were scattered "in an area the size of an American football field."
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating and identifying the probable cause of "all civil aviation accidents in the United States," as well as train, road and marine accidents. . The investigation into the causes that precipitated the fatal accident in which Kobe Bryant has died is still in a very early stage, and the agency has warned that the process can be extended up to a year.
Josh Rubenstein , a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, has stated that the air support division of that department left their helicopters grounded on Sunday morning due to foggy conditions, adding that they did not fly until late. "The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying," Rubenstein explained, "the fog was thick enough that we could not fly."
The minimum flight standard of the Los Angeles Police Department is 3.2 kilometers of visibility and a 244 meter cloud ceiling . Rubenstein has been categorical in ensuring that the department flies two helicopters when weather conditions allow. One of those flights is in the San Fernando Valley and another in the Los Angeles basin . Neither of them flew on Sunday morning.
Call to the control tower
Flight records show that the helicopter in which Kobe Bryant was traveling surrounded the Los Angeles Zoo area up to six times at a very low height, predictably waiting for the fog to clear. According to TMZ, the pilot contacted the control tower at Burbank airport around half past nine in the morning, and reported that he had been circling for 15 minutes. "N72EX helicopter, flies too low to guide you right now," was the answer.
The ship turned north and a few minutes later he turned to find very thick fog. The helicopter thus headed to the mountainous area and suddenly climbed from 1,200 feet to 2,000 feet.
Bryant's former pilot rules out a mechanical failure
Kurt Deetz , a former Island Express Helicopters pilot, has stated that the helicopter in which former Lakers player Kobe Bryant was traveling had a great safety record.
Deetz, a former Bryant rider between 2014 and 2016, explained to the Los Angeles Times that the NBA star was traveling on the Two Echo X-ray spacecraft, of the Sikorsky S-76B company , and with a tail queue No. N72EX
In an official statement, the company has offered its deepest condolences to the families of all the victims and has offered to collaborate with the authorities in search of the causes that caused the tragic accident. Meanwhile, Deetz recalled that when Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016, he flew out of downtown Los Angeles in the same helicopter - painted gray and black with his emblem on his side - and stressed that the player has done more 1,000 flight hours with the ship in which he has found death.
According to Deetz, the conditions of the ship were "fantastic" and Island Express follows a "very good maintenance schedule." The accident happened shortly before 10 am, near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street in Calabasas.
The helicopter, built in 1991, departed from John Wayne Airport at 9:06 in the morning, according to flight records available to the public. Authorities received a 911 call at 9:47 and firefighters arrived to discover that the accident had caused a quarter-acre forest fire on steep terrain, Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said. .
The operation consisted of 56 people (firefighters, a helicopter with paramedics, command crews and agents from the sheriff's office).
Deetz has agreed that the weather conditions were bad on Sunday morning. For him, the accident was due more to bad weather than mechanical or engine problems. "The probability of a catastrophic failure of the twin-engine on that plane simply does not happen," values the professional pilot.
According to Deetz's statements to the Los Angeles Times it seems that the helicopter was traveling very fast at the moment of impact, at approximately 257 km / h. Deez also explains that after a 40-minute flight, the ship would have about 350 liters of fuel on board. "Enough to start a big fire."
The nine victims of the accident
In addition to Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also traveling in the helicopter. Another victim is John Altobelli , a 56-year-old baseball coach at Orange Coast College (OCC) community school, according to a statement from the educational center quoted by the BBC.
Alyssa and Keri , daughter and wife of Altobelli, also traveled in the helicopter. Alyssa and Gianna were teammates at Mamba Sports , a sports academy founded by Bryant.
Another of those killed in the fatal accident is Christina Mauser , a women's basketball coach at an elementary school in the Californian city of Newport Beach , her husband has confirmed on social media.
The helicopter was traveling from Orange County - where Bryant lived with his wife and four daughters - to the city of Thousand Oaks - where the academy is located - to attend a game in which Gianna was going to play.
The helicopter was a regular means for the NBA star. I used it frequently to dodge traffic jams on the road.
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