Christian Shomali / Staff Reporter

A Los Angeles U.S investigator claims that the pilot responsible of the death of Kobe Bryant, flew through the clouds last year, and is likely disoriented just before the helicopter crashed, killing Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and six other passengers.

Somwalt offered his analysis during an NTSB hearing to vote on the likely cause of the crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, the pilot, Ara Zabayan and six other passengers on January 26, 2020.

Zabayan nearly broke through the clouds when the helicopter and plunged into the Calabasas Hills, killing all nine passenger onboard, with flames engulfing the helicopter.

The federal hearing focused on the cause of the tragedy that gave grief worldwide, for the icon of basketball, gave multiple lawsuits and convinced state and federal legislation.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, blamed the pilot. She and other relatives related to the victims blames the companies who owned and controlled the vehicle.

However, there hasn’t seemed to be any mechanical wreckage in the vehicle, so the crash is assumed that the crash was simply an accident.

Within weeks of the crash, the NTSB figured that there was no evidence to prove the helicopter has had an engine failure, and instead focused on the weather and actions of the pilot.

In this instance, the board recommended that charter helicopters are required to use flight data monitoring programs and safety management systems, and pilots be required to complete additional scenario-based training and decision-making training. The NTSB also recommends that helicopters have terrain awareness and warning systems, though investigators said TAWS wouldn’t have altered the outcome in this particular crash.

“By most measures, the interviews that we conducted, the pilot was well thought of, well-regarded. He was the chief pilot. Had good credentials,” NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said during a four-hour board meeting about the findings.

“I think this illustrates that even good pilots can end up in bad situations.”

Sumwalt stated that it has made several of these recommendations to the FAA before, and the agency ignored them. 

“I want to point out that we issue and reiterate safety recommendations when there’s blood on the ground,” he said. “We don’t just come up with these recommendations because ‘oh gosh, that would be a really good idea.’ We issue these recommendations when bad things happen.

“The FAA has dragged their feet so many times on this issue, and others. And we hope that we will finally get their attention.”

“I think the whole world is watching because it’s Kobe,” said Ed Coleman.

The purpose of an NTSB investigation is to develop safety recommendations.

Kobe’s incident shocked the world, showing a lot of pity and ampethy on the 18-Time NBA star.

The NTSB is the federal agency that investigates transportation related crashes.


Kobe Bryant crash pilot was disoriented in clouds, safety board says