The final minutes of interaction between the pilot of the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and air traffic controllers did not indicate any cause for alarm – until the communication suddenly ceased.
That was a bad sign that within seconds turned into the worst possible outcome.
The NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people were killed in a Sunday morning crash outside Los Angeles that has left many questions, chief among them: Why were they flying in foggy conditions that prompted the police department to ground its helicopters?
Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
The 41-year-old athlete was one of sevent occupants who did not survive the fiery incident in the 4200 block of Las Virgenes Road. Emergency personnel responded when a fire broke out.
No one on board the helicopter survived. Bryant was allegedly traveling in his own private helicopter when it crashed. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fatal crash.
CNN and ESPN said Bryant, was on the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. The county Sheriff’s Department said all five people aboard were killed and that the investigation was continuing. Firefighters doused a quarter-acre brush fire, said fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda.
An 18-time NBA All-Star, Bryant was widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. He was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and went on to win two gold medals with the USA Men’s Basketball team in 2008 and 2012.
In 2018, Bryant won an Academy Award for his short film, “Dear Basketball.”
The crash comes one day after Kobe Bryant was passed by Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. As late as 10:39 p.m. ET on Saturday night, Bryant was active on social media, congratulating Bryant on Twitter during the Lakers 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
James inscribed his sneakers with “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker before the game, showing respect for Bryant, an 18-time All-Star with the Lakers who is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. All week, in the lead-up to the milestone, he was quick to laud Bryant.
Vanessa Bryant was not on board. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and daughters – Natalia and Bianca and Capri.