Kobe Bryant's Helicopter Report Released: 'Special Visual Flight Rules' Clearance Reportedly Given to Pilot

Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people on Sunday morning outside Los Angeles. The cause of the crash is unknown, but Nick Valencia of CNN is reporting the helicopter was flying under "Special Visual Flight Rules" which allows it to fly in severe weather conditions.

"[Kobe Bryant's] helicopter was operating under 'Special Visual Flight Rules,'" Valencia wrote on Twitter. "The clearance is given to pilots to allow them to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard Visual Flight Rules (VFR)."

It was reported the helicopter ran into weather issues above the Los Angeles Zoo when it was only 875 feet in the air. The pilot contacted Burbank Airport's control tower at 9:30 a.m. local time which was 15 minutes before the crash. The helicopter then moved along the 118 freeway before turning west to follow the 101 freeway. The pilot then flew into heavy fog and then climbed up to 2,000 feet. Shortly after that, the helicopter crashed into the mountains at 1,700 feet.

There were a total of nine victims including Bryant, Gianna, Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli along with his wife and daughter, and Christina Mauser who was a basketball coach Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, California, where Kobe Bryant's daughter attended school. They were flying to Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy to attend a practice.

"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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Bryant spent his entire NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He joined the team in 1996 after being traded from the Charlotte Hornets, the team that drafted him No. 13 overall. He made an impact right away as he helped the team win the three consecutive NBA titles from 2000-2002. Bryant won the NBA championship again in 2009 and 2010 and he was his first and only MVP award in 2008. He was named to the All-NBA First Team which ties him with Karl Malone for the second-most in NBA history.