Updated on: 1/29/2020
Due to the nature of this story and the dissemination of inaccurate information in the hours surrounding the events described, the decision was made to withhold any content regarding the matter in the interest of accuracy and respect to all those involved.
NBA legend, Olympic gold medalist, Academy-Award Winner, Philanthropist, Husband, and Father, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a Calabasas Helicopter crash Sunday morning.
The retired star was known to travel via helicopter during his time in the NBA and after to allow him to maintain his rigorous training schedule while making time for family and other obligations. At this time it has been reported that the helicopter was in route to a Mamba Academy youth Basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks California, 20 miles away.
On board the helicopter with Bryant and his daughter was another 13-year-old team mate and her parents, another mother and daughter as well as their coach and pilot.
Investigation Into The Crash
At the time of the crash widespread speculation spread regarding the cause of the crash, number of passengers on board, and identities of those on board, out of respect for those impacted by the incident, at this time we will limit our reporting to facts that have been widely corroborated by multiple officials or departments.
The scene of the crash was spread over a large area of the hillside and the surrounding area was consumed by a brush fire when emergency responders arrived on the scene further complicating recovery/ initial investigative/ fact gathering operations.
Additionally, weather conditions may have played into the crash as thick low lying fog reportedly made for poor visibility in the area.
While helicopters do not have the same fabled "Black box" that is the focal point for airplane recovery missions, communication from air traffic controllers is the most reliable information available at this time, with some hope that an on board IPad could recover additional information.
At this time it appears that shortly after being granted clearance to fly with reduced viability, the helicopter was recorded flying lower than Radar levels would pick up before quickly rising above 2,000 feet, then descending rapidly into a hillside.
The pilot had been rated to fly in similar or worse conditions and had his commercial license since 2007 and was rated as an instructor for instrument only flying.
While some theories have come out about pilot error in the foggy conditions, there have been no official conclusions of any such error on the part of the pilot at this time.
What Happens Next
While the public waits for answers, and families and loved ones grieve for who they have lost, investigators, experts and officials work to piece together what happened that fateful morning and uncover the truth for the victims and their families.
Unfortunately, given the nature of the vehicles, aviation accidents are often tragic and even a single human error in maintenance or flight can lead to horrible consequences.
Seattle saw it's own helicopter tragedy when a KOMO News helicopter crashed downtown, killing 2 in 2014, that resulted in a settlement to those injured in the crash, but no determination of liability after investigations uncovered mechanical errors lead to the crash.
Using the information and tools available, investigators, regulators and officials will continue to work to understand the cause of the crash until a conclusion is reached.
The families of those who were killed in aviation crashes like this one can begin to piece their lives together and when ready, contact experienced wrongful death attorneys in their area to handle the eventual claim they may have.
If you or a loved one have experienced the loss of a loved one in an accident, or an injury Davis Law Group has been serving accident victims in Washington State for more than 20-years and offers free case evaluations and books from our Washington accident book series.
To request a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call 206-727-4000 or use the chat or contact options on this page.
Finally Davis Law Group sends their sincere condolences to all those impacted by this tragedy.