NTSB report finds helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant didn’t show signs of engine failure


The helicopter that crashed last month in Calabasas, Calif., killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others did not show signs of engine failure, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Officials said Friday that the Sikorsky S-76B was at 2,300 feet when it lost communication with air traffic controllers on Jan. 26. The helicopter was descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet per minute and 184 miles per hour when it crashed into a hillside and burst into flames.

Though visibility was reportedly low on the day of the crash, it’s still unclear what led to the sudden drop in altitude.

“Our investigators have already developed a substantial amount of evidence about the circumstances of this tragic crash,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a statement. “And we are confident that we will be able to determine its cause as well as any factors that contributed to it so we can make safety recommendations to prevent accidents like this from occurring again.”

The NTSB said in its update Friday that the helicopter’s engines were found “lying inverted” near the tail of the aircraft in a burned area. “The accessory gearboxes and parts of the inlet cases of both engines were thermally destroyed. Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure,” it stated.

Last week it was reported that the company that owned the helicopter was not certified to allow its choppers to fly in visibly bad weather. Federal transportation safety officials have also noted that the helicopter lacked a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS).

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who represents the district where the crash occurred, introduced legislation following the incident that would require the Federal Aviation Association to mandate that helicopters install TAWS.

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