Kobe Bryant death: NTSB releases new video of helicopter crash site

The last words of the helicopter's pilot, seconds before the crash revealed that he was struggling to avoid clouds

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a new video which gives a thorough aerial and ground-level view of the helicopter crash site which killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Kobe, along with his daughter and other people were headed towards the basketball player's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where they had a match to play. Nine people were travelling in the ill-fated helicopter including Kobe, his daughter Gianna, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa, coach at Mamba Sports Academy Christina Mauser, Sarah, and Payton Chester and pilot Zobayan.

NTSB new video of the crash site

Kobe Bryant Gianna Vanessa Daughter Wife
Twitter / Kobe Bryant Universe

Presently, 20 NTSB investigators are collecting evidence at the crash site. One of the investigators Jennifer Homedy said that the debris from the crash was scattered over a large area. "A piece of the tail is down the hill. The fuselage is on the other side of that hill. And then the main rotor is about 100 yards beyond that," she said.

The helicopter crash caused a crater of 1000ft down the rugged hillside terrain. The video shows that the rocky terrain near the crash site is making it difficult for the authorities to carry out the search operations and investigations into the crash.

Video on Twitter shows the chopper minutes before the crash

A Twitter user had posted a chilling video of the ill-fated helicopter circling above his house minutes before the crash. In the video posted by @theironlydreams, the user shot the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter circling mid-air in the same flight path. The video was posted on Sunday.

The user wrote: "I try and video /photograph all the weird stuff happening above my house in Glendale,CA. Unfortunately, this morning I didn't realize I was filming the helicopter Kobe Bryant, his daughter and others were in 31 minutes before they crashed. RIP."

According to Reuters, the video which was recorded at 9.29 am in Glendale's Vineyard neighbourhood matched with the flight path of helicopter in which Kobe was travelling. While the video verification company Storyful confirmed the helicopter in the video to be of Kobe, flight records also suggested that the ill-fated machine was circling at a height of 600 feet around the same time.

Kobe's remains identified

The authorities have recovered all the nine bodies from the crash site. The remains of the NBA legend have been identified with the help of his fingerprints. The remains of John Altobelli (56), Sarah Chester (45), and pilot Ara Zobayan( 50) have also been identified with the help of finger-print analysis.

Kobe Bryant
Instagram grab/ Kobe Bryant Universe

Meanwhile, the remains of the rest of the deceased have been sent to the coroner's office for examination and identification. A source revealed to People that Kobe, who was a frequent helicopter flyer, had a pact with his wife Vanessa that two would never fly in a helicopter together in case of an accident.

Pilot's last words before the crash

Ara Zobayan
Ara Zobayan Ara Zobayan/ Facebook

According to the investigating authorities, in his last message recorded by the ATC, Zobayan said that he was struggling to avoid clouds. The pilot and ATC were in constant contact with each other once the chopper kept circling in the air over Burbank for almost 15 minutes at 9.15 am. Even though the area was engulfed in thick fog, the helicopter headed towards its destination.

Minutes before fatal crash the ATC lost contact with the helicopter. Just forty seconds before the crash, ATC had sent a message to the pilot, "You're still too low for flight following at this time." Zobayan replied by saying that he was trying to avoid the clouds as he went down the hillside.