Kobe Bryant's Pilot Ara Zobayan Said Helicopter Was Ascending as it Plunged Downward: NTSB

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Was Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot disoriented at the time of the fatal crash? Pilot Ara Zobayan reported the aircraft was ascending when it was actually headed to the ground, according to a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report, released Tuesday, does not come to a specific conclusion about what caused the crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gigi and six other passengers on the plane, but does indicate Zobayan may have “misperceived” the conditions at the time of the accident.

“During the final descent the pilot, responding to (air traffic control), stated that they were ‘climbing to four thousand,’” the 1,700-page report stated, which means Zobayan radioed air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds when they were actually plunging toward a hillside outside of Los Angeles, an aviation safety consultant told ABC News.

The helicopter was en route to a girls basketball tournament at the time of the crash that killed all nine people on board including baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyson, mom Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton and Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser.


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