Pilot In Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant Violated Federal Rules By Flying Into Fog, Investigators Claim

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The pilot responsible for the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers in 2020 reportedly violated federal rules by flying into fog.

Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash, indicated he was attempting to climb above the clouds, but was actually rapidly falling through the clouds, according a Tuesday report from The New York Times. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded this meant that Zobayan was disoriented in the clouds, the outlet reported.

The chairman of the NTSB claimed there were rules that prohibited Zobayan from flying into the clouds, but the pilot did it anyway. Investigators claimed the personal relationship between Bryant and Zobayan might have led the pilot to want to make the trip despite the clouds. (RELATED: 911 Calls Detail Just How Bad The Weather Was Before Kobe Bryant Fatal Helicopter Crash)

“This weather did not sneak up on the pilot,” lead investigator Bill English told board members, according to The New York Times. English claimed the helicopter crashed minutes away from an airport where Zobayan could have landed, according to the outlet.

The NTSB is expected to release more of its findings, The New York Times reported.

The legendary basketball player, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were en route to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament when the helicopter crashed into a hillside.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner deemed all nine deaths an accident. The cause of death for Bryant and the other passengers was listed as blunt trauma.