(Washington) The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in January 2020 with ex-NBA star Kobe Bryant on board near Los Angeles was disoriented while flying in thick fog, experts said on Tuesday. the transport safety authority (NTSB).
Ara Zobayan, a 50-year-old pilot considered to be experienced, had indicated in a radio exchange that he would climb to 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) out of the fog shortly before the crash on January 26, causing his death, that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and six others.
But instead of climbing, the aircraft had started a left turn and a fatal descent onto a hill in Calabasas.
“This maneuver is consistent with a pilot experiencing disorientation in space in conditions of limited visibility,” said Robert Sumwalt, president of the NTSB responsible for officially determining the cause of the accident.
“He would have had the incorrect perception that the helicopter was ascending as it descended,” he added, his inner ear no longer knowing how to position it in space.
The plane was carrying the Bryant’s and other passengers to a basketball tournament.
The pilot had more than 8,500 visual flight hours to his credit, including 1,250 on the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter and 75 instrument flight hours.
The death of Kobe Bryant at the age of 41 caused a stir in the world, beyond sport.
In 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, he won five NBA league titles and was named the league’s top player in 2007-08. He retired in 2016.