NTSB: Pilot in Kobe Bryant crash possibly disoriented, thought he was climbing

NTSB: Pilot in Kobe Bryant crash possibly disoriented, thought he was climbing
© Photo by James Anderson/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images

The pilot in the January helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his young daughter and several others erroneously reported that the aircraft was climbing and may have been disoriented, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Hundreds of pages of documents related to the NTSB's analysis of Bryant's accident were released Wednesday and indicate that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was attempting to avoid cloud cover when he crashed into a California hillside.

"During the final descent the pilot, responding to [communications from air traffic control], stated that they were climbing to four thousand [feet]," the report reads.

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“Calculated apparent angles at this time show that the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles,” it adds.

The documents also include photos and reconstructions of the crash scene, but NTSB officials warned that a final conclusion on the crash should not yet be drawn.

"The docket contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators; it does not provide the final report, nor does it contain analysis, findings, recommendations, or probable cause determinations. As such, no conclusions about how or why the crash occurred should be drawn from the information within the docket. Analysis, findings, recommendations, and probable cause determinations related to the crash will be issued by the NTSB in a final report at a later date," reads the NTSB's news release.

Bryant's widow Vanessa Bryant is suing the helicopter rental company, Island Express, as well as the owner of the vehicle for negligence over the Jan. 26 crash that killed her husband and daughter, Gianna, as well as seven others. The rental company has denied responsibility.