New details surrounding the death of basketballer Kobe Bryant, 41, have emerged; a day after the sports star was killed in a helicopter crash.
Traveling with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Bryant, to his basketball school Mamba Academy in California, the aircraft crashed amid foggy conditions.
Now, it has been reported,that pilot Ara Zobayan was operating under “special visual flight rules (SVFR)” according to an air traffic control conversation.
SVFR allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those usually allowed, and can be requested by a pilot before take-off or mid-flight.
CNN transportation analyst Peter Goetz told CNN that it’s “pretty normal” however, it’s not something that is “recommended”.
“If you’re a pilot, and you’re in marginal conditions, or changing conditions that become marginal, you might call air traffic control to request SVFR,” Goelz added.
Bryant was among nine people killed in the helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California on January 26.
According to reports, Bryant was travelling in a private helicopter which he regularly flew used.
The city of Calabasas released a statement confirming the tragic news, saying that it was “with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash”.
“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt,” it read.
According to TMZ who first broke the news, the father and daughter “were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred.”
Eyewitnesses also told the outlet that they had heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it crashed amid foggy conditions.
The other victims of the crash have been identified as head baseball coach at Orange Coast College John Altobelli and wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. Basketball coach Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and daughter Payton (teammate of Gianna Bryant) and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.
Bryant is survived by Bryant’s wife Vanessa and their three other daughters: Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri Kobe Bryant, seven months.
The cause of the crash is still yet to be determined.
The five-time NBA champion was considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.
In the wake of his death, dozens of fans gathered outside Los Angeles’ Staples Center to pay tribute to the former NBA star.
Tributes from around the world have begun pouring in, with basketball fans and celebrities alike devastated by the news.
Former President of the United States, Barack Obama took to Twitter calling Bryant a “legend”.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”
“To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”
“Other tributes include Shaquille O’Neal, Usain Bolt, Kris and Kylie Jenner and Justin Bieber.
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) January 26, 2020
I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 26, 2020
at loss for words right now. praying for this beautiful family. pic.twitter.com/tjKUYXCUgb
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) January 26, 2020