The investigation into what caused a helicopter that Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were flying in to crash is still ongoing, but CNN’s Nick Valencia has some info on it.
He reported on Monday morning that the pilot was operating under “Special Visual Flight Rules,” which is given to pilots allowing them to fly under weather conditions that are worse than normal.
It was reported the helicopter ran into weather issues above the Los Angeles Zoo when it was only 875 feet in the air. The pilot contacted Burbank Airport’s control tower at 9:30 a.m. local time which was 15 minutes before the crash. The helicopter then moved along the 118 freeway before turning west to follow the 101 freeway. The pilot then flew into heavy fog and then climbed up to 2,000 feet. Shortly after that, the helicopter crashed into the mountains at 1,700 feet.
In addition to Bryant and Gianna, there were seven other victims in the crash.
The basketball community is mourning the tragedy. On Sunday, Michael Jordan released a statement about the news:
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much.
“He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also released a statement on behalf of the league:
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” he wrote. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.
“But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability,” Silver continued. “He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”