Kobe Bryant: Footage Surfaces of Lakers Icon's Helicopter Taking off for Final Flight

Video footage of the fateful helicopter ride that took the life of Kobe Bryant and eight others on Sunday, Jan. 6 has surfaced. The 80-second clip, via Inside Edition, shows the craft taking off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. At roughly 10 a.m. PST that morning, the craft lost control and crashed near Calabasas, California, killing everyone on board.

It's been more than two weeks since the tragic crash occurred, though the pieces of what went wrong have just started to be assembled. Just yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board released an update on their investigation, finding that the helicopter was only about 100 feet away from clearing cloud level.

Pilot Ara Zobayan, who was among the crash's nine victims, told air traffic controllers he was bringing the aircraft to an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level. Though it only reached 2,300 feet, it was just 100 feet from the top of the clouds, according to camera footage reviewed by the NTSB as part of their investigation.

Instead of continuing toward the 4,000-foot goal, the helicopter began to drop at a high speed, prompting Zobayan to take an abrupt left turn into the mountainous terrain at a speed of roughly 180 mph.

"If you exit the bottom of the clouds at 4,000 feet per minute at that high speed, you've certainly lost control of the aircraft," said Kipp Lau, an air safety consultant, to The Associated Press. He added that the helicopter could have escaped the clouds in another 12 seconds given Zobayan's approximated speed.

"Once you break out of the clouds, it's clear. Everything lines up with the body. Now you have a real horizon."

Along with Bryant, all seven other passengers were killed in the crash, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester.


Vanessa Bryant, the wife to the late NBA superstar first addressed the loss of her husband and daughter in the days following the crash but has spoken up about the situation again this week via social media.

"I'm so mad," Bryant wrote, referring to her late daughter. "She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I'm not with Kobe and Gigi, but thankful I'm here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri."