NTSB releases footage of Calabasas helicopter crash site

U.S. & World

CALABASAS, Ca. (WRIC/AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board released footage Tuesday morning of the helicopter crash site in Calabasas. The footage shows NTSB investigators documenting and collecting evidence of the crash that killed former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others.

The chartered Sikorsky S-76B was a luxury twin-engine aircraft often used by Bryant in traffic-jumping hops around the notoriously congested LA area. It was heading from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to Camarillo Airport in Ventura County when it crashed in Calabasas.

Among those killed in the crash were John Altobelli, 56, longtime head coach of Southern California’s Orange Coast College baseball team; his wife, Keri; and daughter, Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter; and Christina Mauser, a girls’ basketball coach at a Southern California elementary school and the pilot Ara Zobayan.

Zobayan told air traffic controllers in his last radio message that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer before plunging more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) into a hillside, an accident investigator said.

Crews recovered three bodies on Sunday and resumed the effort on Monday amid an outpouring of grief and shock around the world over the loss of the basketball great who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles during his dazzling 20-year career.

NTSB investigators went back to the crash site on Monday to collect evidence.

Radar indicated the helicopter reached a height of 2,300 feet (701 meters) before descending, and the wreckage was found at 1,085 feet (331 meters), Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board said during a news conference Monday afternoon.

“The debris field is pretty extensive,” Homendy said.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing. NTSB is expected to be at the crash site until the end of the week.

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