Skip to main content

Heartbreaking Details Emerge From Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant, 8 Others

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch an NBA game.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 29: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

In late January, the sporting world was rocked by the tragic death of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

Full details of the accident are expected to take over a year to emerge. However, the National Transportation Safety Board released an initial report that revealed heartbreaking details about the crash.

According to the report, the helicopter, which was flying in dense fog, was just 100 feet from clear skies. If veteran pilot Ara Zobayan continued on his ascent for just 12 more seconds, the aircraft would have reached clear skies, according to air safety consultant Kipp Lau.

Here's more from the NTSB's report, per ESPN:

[Zobayan] told air traffic control he was climbing to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters). He ascended to 2,300 feet (701 meters), just 100 feet (30 meters) from what camera footage later reviewed by the NTSB showed was the top of the clouds.

But rather than continuing higher, Zobayan began a high-speed descent and left turn in rapidly rising terrain. He slammed into the hillside at more than 180 mph (290 kph) and was descending at 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) per minute.

All nine people aboard died from blunt force trauma as a result of the crash, according to the report.

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Bryant's friend and assistant coach, Christina Mauser; and Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton, 14 were the six other people killed in the crash.

The NTSB said it will take at least a year to determine the cause of the accident.