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Timeline of chopper crash that killed Kobe Bryant, 8 others

February 8, 2021  By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A timeline of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others in Southern California on Jan. 26, 2020. All times are approximate:

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9:06 a.m. — The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter departs John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana en route to Camarillo, northwest of Los Angeles. The direct distance is about 79 miles (127 kilometres) but the actual flight path will be indirect.

9:20 a.m. — As the helicopter nears Burbank Airport airspace, the pilot requests to head west across the San Fernando Valley by following U.S. 101. With cloud tops at 2,400 feet (732 metres), he is told there are conditions for instrument flight rules, which dictate how a pilot must operate when visibility is reduced. He requests and is granted “special visual flight rules” and then waits for other air traffic to clear.


9:32 a.m. — The controller clears the pilot to follow Interstate 5 northwest, then follow State Route 118 to pass on the north side of Burbank and Van Nuys airports at or below 2,500 feet (762 metres). The pilot says he will loop around Van Nuys and head down to the 101 freeway. He requests “flight following,” which is radar assistance from air traffic control.

9:39 a.m. — After handoff to a Van Nuys controller, the pilot is given permission to turn southwest toward U.S. 101. He is advised to contact Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control, known as “SoCal.” The pilot tells SoCal he is heading to Camarillo at 1,500 feet (457 metres). SoCal tells the pilot that radar contact can’t be maintained at that altitude, and flight following services are terminated.

9:45 a.m. — The pilot contacts SoCal, reports he is climbing above cloud layers and requests flight following services. A new controller asks the pilot to identify his flight and state his intentions. The pilot says he is climbing to 4,000 feet (1,219 metres) and is not heard from again. Radar shows the helicopter climbing to 2,300 feet (701 metres) and beginning a left turn. Eight seconds later, it begins descending. The last data received from the aircraft was at 1,200 feet (366 metres) about 400 feet (122 metres) from the crash site. A witness says the helicopter emerged from mist and was visible for 1 to 2 seconds before hitting the hillside. It is travelling at more than 180 mph (290 kph).

9:47 a.m. — Callers to 911 report a crash. Wreckage is found along a wide swath of hillside at an elevation of 1,085 feet (331 metres)


Sources: National Transportation Safety Board, Los Angeles County sheriff

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2021


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