The NTSB has now made an official statement on the cause of the deadly helicopter accident that killed Kobe Bryant and his young daughter — blaming the pilot’s poor decisions.
According to the ‘National Transportation Safety Board’ the probable cause of the accident was due to the pilot’s decision to fly in poor weather which included having to uses ‘visual flight rules.’ Plus, the board concluded it was the pilot’s own ‘self-induced’ pressure to continue the flight, once it became clear the fog was dangerously low and thick.
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“The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause in this accident was the pilot’s decision to continue the flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control,” the NTSB said in a statement.
Adding, “Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and his plan continuation bias which adversely affected his decision-making and Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s adequate review of the safety and processes.”
According to reports, the NTSB made it clear Kobe Bryant did NOT pressure the pilot to take the dangerous risks associated with the weather. As we reported, the group was on the way to a youth basketball game when the crash occurred.
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In a press conference today, the NTSB presented its finding to the media and the vice-chairman was clear the pilot should have recognized the danger of the weather presented that day and turned around the aircraft. The group could have landed at Van Nuys airport, which was a short distance away.
Authorities confirmed the pilot was under VFR [Visual Flight Rules] and actually broke the law when making the decision to continue flying through the fog even though it was minimal visibility.
“The pilot’s decision to continue the flight into deteriorating weather conditions was likely influenced by a self-induced pressure to fulfill the client’s travel needs, his lack of an alternative plan, and the plan continuation bias which strengthened as the flight neared the destination,” one official said.
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As for the brutal crash, authorities concluded the pilot experience what is called ‘Spatial Disorientation’ in the moments leading up to the crash. The condition happens when a pilot believes the aircraft is ascending when in fact is descending.
In other words, “The pilot doesn’t know which was is up.”
Obviously, this is a very dangerous situation in any aircraft, and the NTSB says they want companies to implement programs to identify the situation and prevent this from happening during flight.