Kobe Bryant: Crashed Helicopter Did Not Have a Black Box, Public Asked to Help Investigation Into Weather Conditions

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking for the public's help in piecing together what caused the helicopter crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight others last Sunday morning. The Wrap noted that NTSA Board Member Jennifer Homendy officially requested that any photos of the weather near the crash be sent to witness@ntsb.gov. While this could help investigators get a better understanding of the circumstances behind the crash, Homendy stressed that "weather is just a small portion" of the investigation.

Part of the reason for the assistance is that the helicopter in question did not have a black box on board, although the NTSB also stated it wasn't the kind of aircraft required to have one.

As far as the presence of the FBI, Homendy stated that they were on the scene to serve as a "force multiplier" to help them collect evidence on what she called "pretty devastating accident scene," and also stressed that there is no criminal investigation in the matter. Currently, the NTSB is documenting the scene, collecting evidence, taking pictures and mapping the wreckage by using drones.

Earlier today, the LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner provided an update via Twitter about the ongoing search for the victims' bodies. So far, three of the bodies were found among the helicopter wreckage, but the rest were not located as of yesterday. The report also did not reveal which of the nine bodies had been recovered.

As ESPN noted, the NTSB typically issues a preliminary report within roughly the first 10 days after a crash. This will include a rough summary of what the investigators learned while investigating the crash site, though it could take up to a year for the cause of the crash to be revealed.

Prior to the crash, the helicopter was reportedly flying irregularly prior to the crash, and audio released from LiveATC.net indicated that the helicopter was granted "special clearance to fly at or below 2,500 feet in dangerous weather conditions."

That clearance gave the pilot's craft special visual flight rules, or SVFR, which permitted the flying in weather conditions that are worse than those usually allowed by air traffic controllers. They're issued only when the cloud ceiling is below 1,000 feet, which were the conditions yesterday morning.


The fatal crash occurred around 10 a.m. PT near Calabasas, California. Any weather-related photos that may be of help, can be emailed to witness@ntsb.gov.