The helicopter pilot flying the aircraft in which Kobe Bryant and his daughter were traveling last year was disoriented flying through the clouds before the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Tuesday.
A few weeks after the anniversary of Bryant’s death, Chairman of the NTSB Robert Sumwalt said during a hearing that pilot Ara Zobayan was in violation of visual flight rules and became disoriented in the clouds when he couldn’t see where he was going, according to The Associated Press.
The crash that occurred on Jan. 26 of last year killed all nine people on the flight including the pilot, Bryant, and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif., when the pilot tried breaking free of the clouds and hit the side of a hill.
The basketball legend was on the helicopter taking his daughter to her own basketball tournament.
The board has previously stated that there was no mechanical failure with the aircraft and that it appeared to be an accident. There was no "black box" recording from the flight, either.
News about the fatal flight came during a federal hearing on the probable cause for the crash, according to the AP. The crash reverberated worldwide and has prompted several lawsuits and congressional intervention. The wire service stated that the NTSB is likely to make further recommendations to prevent another crash like this from happening again.
A bill has also been sponsored in Congress called the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act that would make Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems mandatory in helicopters that carry more than six people. The system helps warn pilots if they are about to crash.
The NTSB could possibly recommend this system to the Federal Aviation Administration or the Coast Guard, according to The Associated Press.