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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released

Kobe Bryant

Audio has been released from the minutes leading up to the helicopter crash that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people on Sunday morning.

Conversations between the pilot of the helicopter and air traffic controllers indicate the chopper was flying under special VFR, or special visual flight rules. Those rules allow helicopters to fly in conditions where visibility is an issue, which appears to have been the case with the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas. Just before the crash, an air traffic controller could be heard telling the helicopter’s pilot that he was “still too low level for flight following,” which indicated the chopper was flying too low to be picked up by radar because of the hilly terrain in the area.

Here is the audio:

A person familiar with the early portion of an investigation into the crash told ESPN’s Paula Lavigne that the plot of the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter informed air traffic controllers he was going to climb to “go above the layer” of clouds. The pilot was receiving guidance from air traffic controllers as he navigated through dense fog. Witnesses who heard the crash said it was very foggy in the area at the time.

Helicopters are allowed to fly in worse visibility than airplanes, but Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Josh Rubenstein said the department’s helicopters were grounded on Sunday morning due to the dense fog.

“The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying,” Rubenstein said.

A full investigation into the cause of the crash could take a year or more, though ESPN noted that the National Transportation Safety Board typically issues a preliminary report within 10 days.

The crash that claimed Kobe’s and his daughter’s life has understandably rocked the sports world, but our thoughts should be with the seven other victims as well. The tragedy truly is unthinkable.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
LeBron James promises to continue Kobe Bryant’s legacy in Instagram note
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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