The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday is expected to announce the probable cause of the helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others on Jan. 26, 2020.
The NTSB has previously said there was no sign of mechanical failure, and that the tragedy was an accident. Kobe, Gianna and the rest of the passengers were traveling from Orange County to Ventura County for a youth basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy, when the helicopter encountered thick fog making it difficult to see. The pilot tried to fly above the fog and the layer of clouds, and as he almost broke through, the aircraft suddenly plunged and slammed downward into the Calabasas hills, killing everyone aboard instantly.
In addition to announcing the cause of the crash, the board is also expected to make recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure crashes like this don’t happen again. One such recommendation is equipping helicopters with a warning system that will alert the pilot if the aircraft is in danger of crashing. The helicopter Kobe flew in wasn’t equipped with that system, as it is only a requirement for air ambulances.
After Bryant’s death, however, many have been vocal about making warning systems a requirement for any aircraft carrying six or more passengers. There has also been support from lawmakers who have sponsored the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act, which would adopt new safety standards for helicopters.
Bryant’s death sent shockwaves through the sports world, and even after a year since it happened, it’s still been difficult for many to grapple with the death of a sports icon.