Photos from the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others has reportedly leaked and shared by the Los Angeles Sheriff's department. According to TMZ, the photos are spreading as a few were allegedly passed around by Lost Hills Sheriff's substation — the first responders to the crash. It was also reported deputies from other substations in Los Angeles county took cell phone photos of the crash.
At this point, it's unclear who took the photos or how many people have photos of the crash site. One source told Los Angeles Times he saw the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the crash. Capt. Jorge Valdez, the head of the sheriff's information bureau, said his offices contacted the family members of the crash victims because the Times "inquired" about the images.
Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the crash, which has since been officially ruled an accident. There were foggy conditions at the time of the crash on Jan. 26, and has been a spirited debate about the helicopter initially being in the air.
"This was totally avoidable, and on the part of some people I can go as far as to say irresponsible," Robert Ditchey, a longtime airplane pilot, aeronautical engineer and former airline executive, said to USA Today. "Here's one of the most important people in the world who comes to a tragic end like this and you say, 'Why? What the hell happened?'"
"They're in the fog, and you're down hugging the ground trying to fly up the highway and barely able to see it," Ditchey continued. "He's down only 100 feet or so above the ground. In that area of the San Fernando Valley you have mountains on either side of you … and the clouds have obscured them, and you don't have that much room to maneuver."
Because of the questions surrounding the crash, Vanessa Bryant, Bryant's widow, has reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, arguing the helicopter should not have been permitted to fly due to the weather conditions on Jan. 26. Vanessa also claims the helicopter should have never been in any danger before the crash.