The foggy weather above Los Angeles may have played a role in the helicopter crash that killed Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant. Law enforcement sources told TMZ Sports the pilot ran into trouble almost immediately after takeoff. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed Bryant, Gianna and six others were killed in the crash. There were no survivors.
Sources told TMZ it was so foggy over Los Angeles Sunday morning that Los Angeles Police Department air support was grounded. Flight tracker data also shows Bryant's helicopter first ran into weather issues just above the Los Angeles Zoo, when it was only around 875 feet in the air. It circled over the area at least six times.
The pilot first contacted Burbank Airport's control tower at 9:30 a.m. PT, about 15 minutes before the crash. At that point, the tower already knew the pilot circled in the air for about 15 minutes.
The pilot then moved north along the 118 freeway before he turned the helicopter west to follow the 101 freeway above Woodland Hills, California.
Around 10 minutes later, the helicopter flew into heavy fog and the chopper took another turn, heading south and into a mountainous direction. The helicopter climbed from 1,200 feet up to 2,000 feet quickly.
Moments later, around 9:45 a.m., the pilot crashed into the mountain at 1,700 feet. Data shows the helicopter was flying at about 161 knots.
In an afternoon press conference, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed Bryant, Gianna and six other people died in the crash.
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted girls basketball coach Christina Mauser was among the victims. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli's brother told CNN Altobelli, Altobelli's wife Keri and daughter Alyssa were also in the helicopter. Alyssa was a teammate of Gianna's.
Bryant and his passengers were reportedly on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice.
Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, winning five NBA Championships and making it to 18 NBA All-Star games. He also won two Olympic gold medals for Team USA. After he retired in 2016, the Lakers retired his numbers 8 and 24.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters.0comments
"There's no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my [niece] Gigi & my brother [Kobe] I love u and u will be missed," Shaquille O'Neal, who played with Bryant on the Lakers, tweeted. "My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW."
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