Kobe Bryant: Drone Video Shows Stunning Aftermath of Fatal Helicopter Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has released new drone footage of the aftermath of the helicopter crash that took the life of Kobe Bryant and eight others Sunday morning. The video, via USA Today, shows the smashed hull and a debris field that stretches across roughly 200 yards of Southern California hillside near Calabasas, CA. Also featured prominently in the footage are investigators as they comb through the remains to try and piece together what caused the fatal crash.

"It was a pretty devastating accident scene," NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said of the site, which is only accessible by foot, ATV or horseback. The agency is currently trying to determine what specifically caused the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter to lose control. The NTSB also said the helicopter was not equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system. It also didn't have a black box, though it's not required for these types of craft.

Along with the wreckage, investigators on the ground are limited to radar tracking as well as his communication with air traffic controllers, who had granted pilot Ara Zobayan permission to fly under special visual flight rules. Witnesses also report his craft was flying irregularly prior to the crash, while local pilots have theorized that he may have misjudged the mountainous terrain he was flying over.

Officials are now saying that the helicopter may have missed clearing the hillside it crashed into by only 20 to 30 feet.

All eight passengers, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with Zobayan, were killed in the crash. Recently, one of Zobayan's close friends praised the late pilot in a heartfelt Facebook post.

"Ara was an incredible pilot, instructor pilot, charter pilot and truly a great man. He was not your typical egotistical helicopter pilot like most of us honestly are," Jared Joachim wrote. "Ara was a man that always remained cool, calm and collected. As more people that knew Ara open up about him, you'll only hear words like professional, calculated and loving."

"He was always good for a laugh," Joachim's post continued. "The loss is not mine, but a community really. Ara impacted so many people and only in a positive way. I'm sorry that you never got to meet him. You would've loved him, I promise."


The NTSB has also asked anyone who has photos of what the weather looked like around the crash site Sunday morning to email them to witness@ntsb.gov.