Feb. 9, 2021

The National Transportation Safety Board will convene Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 9:30 a.m. (EST) to determine the probable cause of the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter accident that claimed the lives of the pilot and eight passengers onboard, including retired basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter.

NBAA is in a constructive dialogue with the NTSB. According to the board, the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter (N72EX) was operating a Part 135 flight under visual flight rules (VFR) when it impacted terrain enroute to Camarillo Airport (CMA) in Camarillo, CA.

Fog was prevalent throughout the Los Angeles basin at the time of the accident, with reported weather at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) – about 14 miles northeast of the impact site near Calabasas – indicating 1,100 feet overcast with 2 1/2 miles visibility.

A transcript of ATC communications indicates the helicopter departed John Wayne Airport (SNA) and en route the pilot requested a special VFR clearance, permitting visual flight with 1 statute mile visibility while remaining clear of clouds. The helicopter proceeded north toward Burbank before turning west to follow a freeway toward its destination, with the pilot reporting a climb to 4,000’ in his last communication to ATC.

The meeting will be livestreamed at https://ntsb.windrosemedia.com. A final report with the accident investigation’s findings, probable cause and any accompanying safety recommendations stemming from the accident will be released in the coming weeks.