NTSB investigator: Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant did not have black box

National News
Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna killed in helicopter crash

Firefighters work the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA player Kobe Bryant Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif; Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Storrs, Conn.

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NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy held a news conference Monday evening, just over a day following a helicopter crash that ended the life of all nine on board, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

As part of the update, Homendy said that the helicopter did not have a black box, but added that there was an iPad on board which may contain some navigation information to assist investigators. Homendy added that the helicopter was not required to carry a black box.

Homendy said that the NTSB plans on combing through the wreckage for five days, but added that an official cause of the crash will take longer. The FBI is on hand assisting the NTSB, but Homendy stressed that they’re doing so as a “force multiplier,” and not as part of a criminal investigation.

“Our investigators began documenting the scene, collecting evidence, taking pictures, and we had drones in the air to begin mapping the wreckage,” Homendy said.

Homendy told reporters that the helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport en route to southeast of Burbank Airport. The helicopter lost radar contact at 9:45 a.m. PT.

Moments before contact was lost, Homendy said that the pilot requested to climb to 2,500 feet to ascend above the cloud layer. According to NTSB findings, the helicopter crashed at an altitude of 1,085 feet above sea level.

The NTSB is interested in the weather conditions at the time of the crash, and Homendy requested any members of the public who may have photos of the weather near the location and time of the crash to contact the NTSB at witness@ntsb.gov.

The crash scene was described to span 500 to 600 feet.

“There is a impact area on one of the hills. And the, a piece of the tail is down the hill, on the left side of the hill. The fuselage is over on the other side of that hill. And then, the main rotor is about a hundred yards beyond that,” Homendy said.

Preserving the scene has become an issue, according to LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Villanueva said that members of the public have attempted to reach the crash scene, but his deputies are keeping the scene secure as the NTSB conducts its investigation.

“Unfortunately we’ve had an inordinate amount of interest in accessing the crash site by unauthorized personnel,” Villanueva said

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