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The helicopter that carried Kobe Bryant and 8 others before crashing on a hillside did not have a black box on board, investigators say

insider@insider.com (Rosie Perper)
·3 min read
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  • The helicopter that crashed while carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday did not have a black box, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Monday afternoon. 

  • The recording device was not required for the aircraft. 

  • NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said the helicopter circled for 12 minutes while awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers.

  • Then, the helicopter climbed to around 2,300 feet to avoid a cloud layer and shortly after started a descening left turn.

  • The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

  • Homendy called crash scene "pretty devastating" and said that survival would have been unlikely. 

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The helicopter that crashed while carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday did not have a black box, and the recording device was not required for the aircraft, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Monday afternoon. 

No one survived the crash in Calabasas, California, roughly 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The local coroner was still gathering the remains of the victims on Monday.

On Monday, the NTSB held a briefing and gave updated information about its investigation. Officials with the agency said that drones were mapping out the area of the wreckage. The FBI is assisting with evidence collection, the transportation officials said.

The NTSB said the disposition of the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter at the time of the crash was not yet clear. Pieces of the helicopter were scattered around the hillside near the main impact point. The debris field spans as wide as about 600 feet.

NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy called crash scene "pretty devastating" and said that survival would have been unlikely. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The NTSB is still investigating if weather played a role and called on members of the public to send in photos of the weather in the area in order to assess flying conditions on the day of the crash.

"Initial information shows the helicopter was flying under visual flight rules from John Wayne Airport to just southeast of Burbank Airport," Homendy said about the helicopter's flight path.

Homendy said that the helicopter circled for 12 minutes while awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers. Then, the helicopter climbed to around 2,300 feet to avoid a cloud layer and shortly after started a descening left turn.

The last radar contact with the helicopter was around 9:45 a.m., consistent to the accident's location.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the department is protecting the area surrounding the crash to prevent trespassers from accessing the site. 

Bryant was a fixture on the Los Angeles Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year career. He was the third all-time scorer in the NBA and won five NBA championships.

 

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