The National Transportation Safety Board officially ruled that pilot error was the cause of the helicopter crash that killed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others.
After a thorough look into what happened on that tragic Sunday morning last year, it was determined foggy conditions led to spatial disorientation after a poor decision by the pilot to continue flying. The NTSB called this plan continuation bias, as the pilot was so concerned about completing the flight that he did not take into account proper safety measures.
The crash came shortly after communication with air traffic control where the pilot said he would ascend to a point above the cloud level. Shortly after revealing those plans, he began to veer left and ultimately descend.
When asked what his intentions were at that point, the pilot believed he was still rising to above the clouds. Thus, it was concluded that he was completely disoriented at the time of the accident.
NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said of the board’s decision that “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened.”
Vanessa Bryant has been involved in ongoing lawsuits directed towards the helicopter company that flew her husband and daughter. This ruling may help lead to a decision in her legal battles.
The Lakers — and the entire NBA and WNBA families — have continued to honor the Bryant family each and every day. The 13-year-old future basketball star was an honorary WNBA draft pick in the 2020 draft along with her friends that were also killed last January.
Magic Johnson: Kobe’s legacy is everlasting
Johnson has been one of the public figures most openly affected by the loss of Bryant. He spoke about what Bryant’s legacy is to him, saying that it will be everlasting.
Johnson also mentioned that in every single speaking engagement he’s done since Bryant’s death, the Black Mamba has come up as a topic of conversation.
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