Federal investigators have revealed that the pilot of the helicopter that crashed, killing Kobe Bryant among nine others on Sunday, told air traffic control he was climbing up 2300 feet to avoid a cloud layer.
When the pilot was asked of his plan, there was no reply.
After climbing up, the chopper reportedly descended in a left turn before crashing into a mountainside with such a force that it left a crater. The impact split the helicopter into pieces, creating debris field stretching about 500-600 feet.
Bryant was travelling in his private helicopter with 13-year-old daughter Gianna from his residence in Orange County to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Jennifer Homendy, member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said they will be at the crash site this entire week to collect evidences. “It was a pretty devastating accident scene,” Homendy told reporters. “We will be here about five days on scene to collect perishable evidence,” she said. “We are not here to determine the cause of the accident. We will not determine that on scene.”
The poor visibility on Sunday morning had forced Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Los Angeles Police departments to ground their choppers.
Bryant retired from professional basketball in 2016, scoring 60 points in what turned out to be a dream farewell at the Staples Center. He is the fourth in the all-time point scoring NBA history.
Apart from becoming an NBA legend, Bryant also won an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball” in 2018.
He is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters.