Report: Pilot that crashed Kobe Bryant’s helicopter violated flight standards by flying through clouds

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the tragic helicopter crash that killed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and several others was due to a violation by the helicopter’s pilot.

The pilot, Ara Zobayan, also passed away in the crash.

“Federal safety officials on Tuesday blamed the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others on board last year on the pilot’s poor decision to fly into thick clouds, where he became disoriented and plunged the aircraft into a Southern California hillside,” the Associated Press’ Stefanie Dazio and Brian Melley wrote.

“The National Transportation Safety Board said poor visibility probably led pilot Ara Zobayan to become so disoriented in thick fog north of Los Angeles that he could not perceive up from down. The five board members also said Zobayan, who also died in the crash, ignored his training and violated federal regulations during the 40-minute flight.”

In addition to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester died in the crash.

“Per the NTSB, Zobayan nearly broke through the clouds before the copter ‘banked abruptly,’ causing it to plummet to the ground,” Bleacher Report’s Mike Chiari wrote.

The tragic crash took all of those lives far too soon.

The elder Bryant was a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

He won five championships in his storied career and played each of his 20 seasons with the Lakers.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.