The sports world is still mourning Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, over a year after his tragic death.
Bryant and eight others — including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna — died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. The group was en route to a basketball tournament at the time of the incident.
Nearly 13 months after Bryant died, federal officials provided a heartbreaking update about what happened that day.
Kobe Bryant and 8 others died on Jan. 26, 2020
The world stopped and social media froze on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.
TMZ Sports first reported that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had suddenly and tragically died at 41 years old. More details quickly emerged, including that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine casualties of a helicopter crash.
The group was en route to a basketball tournament when the S-76 helicopter, piloted by Ara Zobayan, crashed just before 10 a.m. ET into a hillside near Calabasas, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Autopsy results showed that Zobayan, the pilot, was not on alcohol or drugs when the crash occurred. All nine aboard the helicopter died instantly.
The Lakers honored Kobe and Gigi throughout the pandemic-affected 2019-20 season. LeBron James and the Lakers capped off the season by winning the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, when Bryant won Finals MVP honors.
Federal officials just revealed more details about the crash
The National Transportation Safety Board has officially determined what happened the day that Kobe Bryant died.
According to Reuters, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said pilot Ara Zobayan was “legally prohibited” from flying into clouds but did so anyway. The NTSB believes Zobayan became “disoriented” before the crash occurred.
The NTSB is expected to continue investigating whether Zobayan faced pressure to complete the flight.
“What were the expectations of the pilot under the company policy? Did he put pressure on himself and what actions could he have taken to avoid flying into the clouds?”
Sumwalt said the investigation found no evidence of “catastrophic mechanical failure.”
The world is still mourning Kobe Bryant’s death
Reports, whether they are autopsies or in-depth investigations, are not done to bring the deceased back. The reports are performed, in part, to provide a sense of closure.
Knowing more information on why the helicopter crashed will not allow Kobe Bryant and his daughter to sit courtside at Lakers games again. It also will not change the fact that Bryant’s surviving children will grow up without their father.
Vanessa Bryant remembered her late husband and daughter in a recent Instagram post.
“I miss my baby girl and Kob-Kob so much, too. I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings. It still doesn’t seem real.”
Bryant and his daughter weren’t the only ones who died on Jan. 26, 2020. The friends and families of the seven other casualties will never spend time with the deceased again.
The Bryant family had not commented on the NTSB’s findings at publication.