web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters"

‘It’s More Than I Imagined’: Boeing’s New C.E.O. Confronts Its Challenges

FLORISSANT, Mo. — In his eight weeks on the job, Boeing’s chief executive, David L. Calhoun, has come to one overriding conclusion: things inside the aerospace giant were even worse than he thought.

In a wide-ranging interview this week, Mr. Calhoun criticized his predecessor in blunt terms and said he was focused on transforming the internal culture of a company mired in crisis following two crashes that killed 346 people.

To get Boeing back on track, Mr. Calhoun said he was working to mend relationships with angry airlines, win back the confidence of international regulators and appease an anxious President Trump — all while moving as quickly as possible to get the grounded 737 Max back in the air.

“It’s more than I imagined it would be, honestly,” Mr. Calhoun said, describing the problems he is confronting. “And it speaks to the weaknesses of our leadership.”

Boeing’s previous chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, was fired in December after presiding over a series of embarrassing setbacks that culminated in the shutdown of the 737 factory this year.

Mr. Calhoun formally took over in January, but he has been involved in this mess from the beginning. A protégé of Jack Welch from his time at General Electric, Mr. Calhoun has been on Boeing’s board since 2009, and was elevated to chairman late last year.

Before becoming the chief executive, he had vigorously defended Mr. Muilenburg, saying in a CNBC appearance in November that Mr. Muilenburg “has done everything right” and should not resign. One month later, the board ousted Mr. Muilenburg and announced Mr. Calhoun as his replacement.

“Boards are invested in their C.E.O.s until they’re not,” said Mr. Calhoun, sitting in a dim conference room at the Boeing Leadership Center, a corporate campus outside St. Louis where Mr. Muilenburg’s photo is still displayed prominently.

“We had a backup plan,” he added. “I am the backup plan.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163519638_8218926c-95ea-4e8d-9b71-4d201d31311a-articleLarge ‘It’s More Than I Imagined’: Boeing’s New C.E.O. Confronts Its Challenges Muilenburg, Dennis A Calhoun, David L Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters Airlines and Airplanes

Dennis Muilenberg, the former Boeing president and chief executive, at a hearing last year on Capitol Hill.Credit…Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Now that he’s in charge, Mr. Calhoun has become more willing to openly criticize Mr. Muilenburg. He said the former chief executive turbocharged Boeing’s production rates before the supply chain was ready, a move that sent Boeing shares to an all-time high but compromised quality.

“I’ll never be able to judge what motivated Dennis, whether it was a stock price that was going to continue to go up and up, or whether it was just beating the other guy to the next rate increase,” he said, adding later, “If anybody ran over the rainbow for the pot of gold on stock, it would have been him.”

Mr. Muilenburg declined to comment.

Mr. Calhoun and the rest of Boeing’s board never seriously questioned that strategy, in part because before the first Max crash off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018, the company was enjoying its best run in years. What’s more, the board believed that Mr. Muilenburg, an engineer who had been at Boeing for his entire career, was so deeply informed about the business that he was a good judge of the risks involved in ramping up production.

“If we were complacent in any way, maybe, maybe not, I don’t know,” Mr. Calhoun said. “We supported a C.E.O. who was willing and whose history would suggest that he might be really good at taking a few more risks.”

It was only after the Max was grounded last March following a crash in Ethiopia that Mr. Muilenburg’s optimistic approach became viewed as a liability. Airlines grew livid after he repeatedly voiced overly optimistic timetables about when the Max would return to service. The head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Stephen Dickson, was so frustrated that he reprimanded Mr. Muilenburg in a private meeting and publicly told F.A.A. employees to resist pressure from the company.

“They felt like they were being pushed into a timeline,” Mr. Calhoun said of the F.A.A., adding that the “regulator was never there alongside of us, but apparently our team didn’t quite come up to grips with that.”

One of Mr. Calhoun’s initial tasks as chief executive was to go on an apology tour, holding a series of what he called “greet-and-mend opportunities.” The first stop was the White House.

At a private meeting with Mr. Trump on Mr. Calhoun’s third day on the job, the president told him that he liked Mr. Muilenburg, but believed a leadership change was needed. The president said he hoped Boeing was investing all of its resources into getting the plane back in the air.

“He wants us to get back on our horse,” Mr. Calhoun said. “He wants us to get the Max flying again, safely.”

Mr. Calhoun said he recently asked Boeing employees to “lay out in gory detail what needed to be done” to get the plane certified. “And then when they told me exactly what that was, I added a day or two to it,” he said.

His conclusion was that the Max might be approved some time this summer, pushing back again the likely return of the plane by six months.

“Restoring credibility with the F.A.A. was not as hard as people think,” he said, “They just didn’t want to be boxed in anymore. They were sick of it.”

While he has been contrite about damaging internal messages released in January, Mr. Calhoun stopped short of saying that the company has systemic cultural problems. He called the messages, in which Boeing employees ridiculed the F.A.A. and denigrated their own colleagues, “totally unacceptable,” but said they were not representative of Boeing more broadly. “I see a couple of people who wrote horrible emails,” he said.

He also delicately maneuvered between accepting responsibility for the two crashes and pointing the finger elsewhere.

When designing the Max, the company made a “fatal mistake” by assuming pilots would immediately counteract a failure of new software on the plane that played a role in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents. But he implied that the pilots from Indonesia and Ethiopia, “where pilots don’t have anywhere near the experience that they have here in the U.S.,” were part of the problem, too.

Asked whether he believed American pilots would have been able to handle a malfunction of the software, Mr. Calhoun asked to speak off the record. The Times declined to do so.

“Forget it,” Mr. Calhoun then said. “You can guess the answer.”

He dismissed concerns about the board’s decision to give him a $7 million bonus based in part on whether the Max returned to service. “The objective is to get the Max up safely,” he said. “Period.”

When asked why he didn’t elect to forgo his salary altogether, he said, “Cause I’m not sure I would have done it.”

Pulling Boeing out of the hole it has dug will take years, Mr. Calhoun said. At a meeting with his senior leadership team on Tuesday, Mr. Calhoun introduced a new set of values intended to guide the company, which he hopes will inspire employees still working on getting the 737 Max back in service.

“You don’t just win this one,” he said. “You don’t just go out and fight and win and now you’re a hero. One airplane at a time.”

In the meantime, Mr. Calhoun is focused on the basics: producing jets at a pace the factory can handle, instilling discipline up and down the company, and hunting for bad news and acting on it.

“If I don’t accomplish all that,” he said, “then you can throw me out.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion

Westlake Legal Group 29boeing1-facebookJumbo Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion Company Reports Calhoun, David L Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing on Wednesday said the costs associated with the grounding of the 737 Max were likely to surpass $18 billion, a significant increase over earlier forecasts.

The new estimate, announced during Boeing’s quarterly earnings report, is the company’s most recent approximation of just how expensive it will be to return the Max to service, compensate airline customers and restart the shuttered 737 factory.

Boeing continues to grapple with the fallout from the crashes of two Max jets in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people, leading to the worldwide grounding of the plane in March. In addition to the rising costs, the company is contending with a new chief executive, the temporary shutdown of the 737 factory and a range of challenges in other parts of the business.

Boeing on Wednesday said that the costs associated with shutting down and restarting the factory would amount to some $4 billion. The decision to temporarily halt production of the Max was only made last month, and Boeing had not previously given guidance on what the move would cost.

The company also said that the cost of compensating airlines that have suffered lost sales as a result of the grounding of the Max was now expected to reach $8.3 billion, up from a previous estimate of $5.6 billion. That figure represents a mixture of cash payments to airlines, as well as discounts on future sales.

And Boeing said that as a result of the grounding, which has lasted nearly a year now, it expected the overall cost to produce the 737 Max to rise to $6.3 billion in the years ahead, up from an earlier estimate of $3.6 billion.

In total, the anticipated costs now equal more than $18.6 billion, or nearly 20 percent of Boeing’s annual sales before the Max was grounded.

The Max crisis continued to weigh on the company’s financial results. Revenue for the quarter was $17.9 billion, down 37 percent from the same time a year earlier, before the jet was grounded.

Boeing also said it would incur a charge of $410 million as a result of its botched rocket launch late last year, when a space capsule it designed for NASA failed to reach the correct orbit.

This was the company’s first quarterly earnings report with David L. Calhoun at the helm, following the ouster of the previous chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg.

Since taking over this month, Mr. Calhoun has tried to set himself apart from Mr. Muilenburg, who was pushed out after alienating airline customers and the Federal Aviation Administration with overly optimistic projections about when the Max would return to service.

“We recognize we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Calhoun said in a statement. “We are focused on returning the 737 Max to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do.”

There is still no precise timeline for the return of the Max. Last week, Boeing said it did not expect regulators to approve the plane to fly until June or July, though that estimate was conservative. If regulators do not find any additional problems with the plane, the Max could return to service before then, though new issues cropped up earlier in the process.

The company has enjoyed rare bits of good news in recent weeks. It successfully completed the first flight test of the 777X, its new wide-body jet. And the trade deal that the White House struck with China included a commitment for the sale of new American aircraft to Chinese customers.

Yet Boeing still faces enormous challenges. The grounding of the Max is costing the company many billions of dollars, and costs are still rising. The fatal crashes and a cascade of damning revelations have badly damaged Boeing’s reputation, and the company’s own research shows 40 percent of regular travelers are unwilling to fly the Max. Other Boeing programs, including its work for NASA and the United States military, are behind schedule.

The Max is Boeing’s most important product, representing hundreds of billions of dollars in expected future sales. But just over a year after it was introduced in 2017, a Max crashed off the coast of Indonesia, after a new automated system triggered based on data from a faulty sensor. Less than five months later, a second Max crashed in Ethiopia under similar circumstances, leading to the worldwide grounding.

That has thrust Boeing into the biggest crisis in its history and led to the temporary shuttering of its 737 factory in Renton, Wash. Boeing has developed a software update and has been working with regulators to win approval to return the plane to service. But the grounding is now likely to last a year.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion

Westlake Legal Group 29boeing1-facebookJumbo Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion Company Reports Calhoun, David L Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing on Wednesday said the costs associated with the grounding of the 737 Max were likely to surpass $18 billion, a significant increase over earlier forecasts.

The new estimate, announced during Boeing’s quarterly earnings report, is the company’s most recent approximation of just how expensive it will be to return the Max to service, compensate airline customers and restart the shuttered 737 factory.

Boeing continues to grapple with the fallout from the crashes of two Max jets in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people, leading to the worldwide grounding of the plane in March. In addition to the rising costs, the company is contending with a new chief executive, the temporary shutdown of the 737 factory and a range of challenges in other parts of the business.

Boeing on Wednesday said that the costs associated with shutting down and restarting the factory would amount to some $4 billion. The decision to temporarily halt production of the Max was only made last month, and Boeing had not previously given guidance on what the move would cost.

The company also said that the cost of compensating airlines that have suffered lost sales as a result of the grounding of the Max was now expected to reach $8.3 billion, up from a previous estimate of $5.6 billion. That figure represents a mixture of cash payments to airlines, as well as discounts on future sales.

And Boeing said that as a result of the grounding, which has lasted nearly a year now, it expected the overall cost to produce the 737 Max to rise to $6.3 billion in the years ahead, up from an earlier estimate of $3.6 billion.

In total, the anticipated costs now equal more than $18.6 billion, or nearly 20 percent of Boeing’s annual sales before the Max was grounded.

The Max crisis continued to weigh on the company’s financial results. Revenue for the quarter was $17.9 billion, down 37 percent from the same time a year earlier, before the jet was grounded.

Boeing also said it would incur a charge of $410 million as a result of its botched rocket launch late last year, when a space capsule it designed for NASA failed to reach the correct orbit.

This was the company’s first quarterly earnings report with David L. Calhoun at the helm, following the ouster of the previous chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg.

Since taking over this month, Mr. Calhoun has tried to set himself apart from Mr. Muilenburg, who was pushed out after alienating airline customers and the Federal Aviation Administration with overly optimistic projections about when the Max would return to service.

“We recognize we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Calhoun said in a statement. “We are focused on returning the 737 Max to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do.”

There is still no precise timeline for the return of the Max. Last week, Boeing said it did not expect regulators to approve the plane to fly until June or July, though that estimate was conservative. If regulators do not find any additional problems with the plane, the Max could return to service before then, though new issues cropped up earlier in the process.

The company has enjoyed rare bits of good news in recent weeks. It successfully completed the first flight test of the 777X, its new wide-body jet. And the trade deal that the White House struck with China included a commitment for the sale of new American aircraft to Chinese customers.

Yet Boeing still faces enormous challenges. The grounding of the Max is costing the company many billions of dollars, and costs are still rising. The fatal crashes and a cascade of damning revelations have badly damaged Boeing’s reputation, and the company’s own research shows 40 percent of regular travelers are unwilling to fly the Max. Other Boeing programs, including its work for NASA and the United States military, are behind schedule.

The Max is Boeing’s most important product, representing hundreds of billions of dollars in expected future sales. But just over a year after it was introduced in 2017, a Max crashed off the coast of Indonesia, after a new automated system triggered based on data from a faulty sensor. Less than five months later, a second Max crashed in Ethiopia under similar circumstances, leading to the worldwide grounding.

That has thrust Boeing into the biggest crisis in its history and led to the temporary shuttering of its 737 factory in Renton, Wash. Boeing has developed a software update and has been working with regulators to win approval to return the plane to service. But the grounding is now likely to last a year.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion

Westlake Legal Group 29boeing1-facebookJumbo Boeing Expects 737 Max Costs Will Surpass $18 Billion Company Reports Calhoun, David L Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters Airlines and Airplanes

Boeing on Wednesday said the costs associated with the grounding of the 737 Max were likely to surpass $18 billion, a significant increase over earlier forecasts.

The new estimate, announced during Boeing’s quarterly earnings report, is the company’s most recent approximation of just how expensive it will be to return the Max to service, compensate airline customers and restart the shuttered 737 factory.

Boeing continues to grapple with the fallout from the crashes of two Max jets in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people, leading to the worldwide grounding of the plane in March. In addition to the rising costs, the company is contending with a new chief executive, the temporary shutdown of the 737 factory and a range of challenges in other parts of the business.

Boeing on Wednesday said that the costs associated with shutting down and restarting the factory would amount to some $4 billion. The decision to temporarily halt production of the Max was only made last month, and Boeing had not previously given guidance on what the move would cost.

The company also said that the cost of compensating airlines that have suffered lost sales as a result of the grounding of the Max was now expected to reach $8.3 billion, up from a previous estimate of $5.6 billion. That figure represents a mixture of cash payments to airlines, as well as discounts on future sales.

And Boeing said that as a result of the grounding, which has lasted nearly a year now, it expected the overall cost to produce the 737 Max to rise to $6.3 billion in the years ahead, up from an earlier estimate of $3.6 billion.

In total, the anticipated costs now equal more than $18.6 billion, or nearly 20 percent of Boeing’s annual sales before the Max was grounded.

The Max crisis continued to weigh on the company’s financial results. Revenue for the quarter was $17.9 billion, down 37 percent from the same time a year earlier, before the jet was grounded.

Boeing also said it would incur a charge of $410 million as a result of its botched rocket launch late last year, when a space capsule it designed for NASA failed to reach the correct orbit.

This was the company’s first quarterly earnings report with David L. Calhoun at the helm, following the ouster of the previous chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg.

Since taking over this month, Mr. Calhoun has tried to set himself apart from Mr. Muilenburg, who was pushed out after alienating airline customers and the Federal Aviation Administration with overly optimistic projections about when the Max would return to service.

“We recognize we have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Calhoun said in a statement. “We are focused on returning the 737 Max to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do.”

There is still no precise timeline for the return of the Max. Last week, Boeing said it did not expect regulators to approve the plane to fly until June or July, though that estimate was conservative. If regulators do not find any additional problems with the plane, the Max could return to service before then, though new issues cropped up earlier in the process.

The company has enjoyed rare bits of good news in recent weeks. It successfully completed the first flight test of the 777X, its new wide-body jet. And the trade deal that the White House struck with China included a commitment for the sale of new American aircraft to Chinese customers.

Yet Boeing still faces enormous challenges. The grounding of the Max is costing the company many billions of dollars, and costs are still rising. The fatal crashes and a cascade of damning revelations have badly damaged Boeing’s reputation, and the company’s own research shows 40 percent of regular travelers are unwilling to fly the Max. Other Boeing programs, including its work for NASA and the United States military, are behind schedule.

The Max is Boeing’s most important product, representing hundreds of billions of dollars in expected future sales. But just over a year after it was introduced in 2017, a Max crashed off the coast of Indonesia, after a new automated system triggered based on data from a faulty sensor. Less than five months later, a second Max crashed in Ethiopia under similar circumstances, leading to the worldwide grounding.

That has thrust Boeing into the biggest crisis in its history and led to the temporary shuttering of its 737 factory in Renton, Wash. Boeing has developed a software update and has been working with regulators to win approval to return the plane to service. But the grounding is now likely to last a year.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Flying Into Patchy Fog, Kobe Bryant’s Pilot Had a Decision to Make

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-crash-facebookJumbo Flying Into Patchy Fog, Kobe Bryant’s Pilot Had a Decision to Make Los Angeles (Calif) CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

CALABASAS, Calif. — The helicopter carrying the basketball legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday morning circled over a golf course in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers to continue its flight into the hills.

The weather 55 miles south in Orange County, where the helicopter had departed less than an hour earlier, had been fine — four miles visibility. Mr. Bryant had made the same flight from near his home on the coast to the Camarillo airport, north of Los Angeles near Mr. Bryant’s basketball academy, many times.

But now, up ahead, a fog so thick that even drivers on the freeway could barely see enveloped the hillsides near their destination. Visibility was so poor that the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded its fleet of helicopters. The pilot had a decision to make, one that might have proved fatal.

Turn around? Begin flying on instruments and head to a safe airport? The pilot, who by all accounts had a sterling safety record and was licensed to fly in inclement weather, kept going.

Sometime after its last contact with air traffic controllers at 9:45 a.m., the aircraft slammed into a hillside at 1,085 feet.

On Monday, investigators were trying to figure out what went wrong, and emphasized that no possibility, including a mechanical problem, had been ruled out.

“We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”

The helicopter was not carrying a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators have been searching a debris field of about 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence, Ms. Homendy said. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.

Asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: “It was a pretty devastating accident scene.”

Like many celebrities and business tycoons, Mr. Bryant had long moved around Southern California by helicopter to avoid the region’s famous traffic. During his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he would often fly into busy downtown Los Angeles for games.

On the day of the crash he was flying to a special event, a basketball tournament he was coaching at the training camp he had co-founded in Calabasas. On board with him was his daughter Gianna, 13, a star player who many had predicted had a future in the W.N.B.A.

In addition to Mr. Bryant and his daughter, the crash also killed two of her teammates; an assistant coach; the helicopter’s pilot; and three other adults, one of whom was a college baseball coach.

The Sunday morning flight out of Orange County, close to Mr. Bryant’s home on the coast near Newport Beach, appeared to be uneventful at first.

When the helicopter reached Burbank, where the foothills rise above the Los Angeles basin, controllers kept the flight circling for 12 minutes, clearing other traffic, according to the N.T.S.B. They then issued a special visual clearance for Mr. Bryant’s flight to pass through their airspace under less-than-optimal visual conditions — with the assumption, a Federal Aviation Administration official said, that the pilot would maintain legal clearance from clouds, or seek clearance to fly on instruments, after that.

But there were no further communications, until witnesses called 911 at 9:47 a.m. and reported the sound of whirring blades, broken fiberglass and a massive fire on a hillside.

The fog on Sunday morning near the scene of the crash was “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk,” said Scott Daehlin, 61. He was retrieving sound equipment for a Sunday service at his church in Calabasas when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer caused him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said Monday morning as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose. The grassy slope was littered in wreckage. “My first thought was, what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

For about 20 seconds, he said, he followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” he said. As the son of a pilot, he added, “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Just then, the helicopter went down. He heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

The pilot, Ara Zobayan, who had held a commercial license since 2007, had not obtained a clearance to fly under instrument flight rules, which would have allowed him to navigate with the use of his instruments, officials said.

The special clearance from air traffic controllers allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but it did not give him “blanket clearance” to continue on to Camarillo, an F.A.A. official said.

Beyond Burbank’s airspace, he was on his own.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the F.A.A. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of instruments, which would have required additional F.A.A. clearance.

In an audio recording of the flight’s last communications, posted online, an air traffic controller can be heard asking the pilot if he had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and alert pilots to any traffic hazards, under his “special” visual flight clearance. The controller, just before losing radio contact, noted that in any case the helicopter was “too low for flight following at this time.”

Mr. Zobayan, 50, had flown Mr. Bryant before and was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions but also to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their own instrument ratings. He had no accidents or enforcement actions on his record, according to the F.A.A.

Mr. Zobayan learned to fly from Group 3 Aviation, which is based at the Van Nuys airport, in 1998, after taking a sightseeing flight over the Grand Canyon. He later worked as an instructor at Group 3.

Pilots who gathered at the school on Monday declined to give their names but described Mr. Zobayan as an experienced and meticulous operator. They said they were perplexed by the accident.

“Super cautious, super smart,” one of the instructors said. “I can’t see him making this kind of mistake.”

Kurt Deetz, a helicopter pilot who once flew for Island Express Helicopters, which operated the aircraft Mr. Bryant was on, described Mr. Zobayan as “a great guy” with a “big smile” who was “always laughing.”

He said Mr. Zobayan was an experienced pilot who “knew the weather patterns” of greater Los Angeles. He said that the grounding of L.A.P.D. flights does not normally mean that private pilots will cancel their flights. The Police Department, he said, is often overly cautious.

“It’s not like, oh the L.A.P.D.’s not flying, we’re not flying,” he said.

Investigators are focusing on the weather as one of the likely causes. But based on eyewitness accounts about the sound of the helicopter and its movements before the crash, investigators have not ruled out mechanical failure.

But some of those who are familiar with the type of aircraft said a mechanical breakdown was an unlikely cause.

“It would have had to be really just a one in a million stroke of bad luck to have had a mechanical problem right when getting into the clouds,” said Jeff Wise, an aviation expert and pilot who learned to fly in Southern California.

When a pilot enters fog and loses his sense of direction, “it’s a combination of disorientation and mental workload,” Mr. Wise said. “You have a small amount of time to make a very important decision.”

Mr. Wise said that pilots by nature want to finish their missions — an inclination that he called “get-there-it-is” that can be heightened when flying a high-profile passenger like Mr. Bryant.

“Pilots are determined to complete their mission and that can be a dangerous mind-set,” he said. “And if you’ve got Kobe Bryant in the back-seat you don’t want to disappoint.”

Mr. Deetz, the pilot who in the past has flown Mr. Bryant around Los Angeles, said pilots never make decisions based on their passengers’ desires. “The pilot is the final authority for safe operations of the aircraft,” he said. “Nobody wants to die.”

In Calabasas, at the church where Mr. Daehlin heard the helicopter on Sunday, Pastor Bob Bjerkaas said he was leading Sunday school when he also heard the helicopter flying over — and then the loud crunch.

He said he did not know what had happened until a little later, during the main Sunday service, when he was delivering his sermon on the suffering of Job and the brevity of life. Someone from the congregation who had been looking at the newsfeed on a phone interjected, saying several people had been killed in a helicopter crash, including Kobe Bryant.

“It was a reminder that the time we have is an instant,” he said, “and we need to think about what we can do to make our lives matter each day.”

Dave Philipps reported from Calabasas, Calif., Tim Arango from Los Angeles and Louis Keene from Santa Ana, Calif. Alan Blinder contributed reporting from Atlanta.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher

Video

transcript

Fans and Friends Mourn Kobe Bryant After Helicopter Crash

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” “Tonight is for Kobe —” [singing] “Kobe, my thoughts are with you. Absolutely rest in peace, young man — this loss is, it’s just hard to comprehend.” “He was just such a wonderful kid. But more than that, has turned into a wonderful adult man.” “Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously — really close friend, and this season’s for him.” Crowd: “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.” Announcer: “The N.B.A and the game of basketball will mourn this loss together. Please join us in a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Mamba.”

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-briefing-HS-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.CreditCredit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Just before air traffic controllers lost track of the helicopter that was carrying nine people, including Kobe Bryant, on Sunday, the pilot who was at the controls said that he was trying to fly higher to avoid a cloud layer, federal investigators said Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said there was no response from the pilot after controllers asked for more information, and radar suggested that the helicopter ascended to 2,300 feet and began a descending turn to the left.

Although investigators are scrutinizing weather conditions at the time of the crash — part of Southern California was shrouded in fog on Sunday morning — they are also examining the possibility that other issues played a role in the crash.

“We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the N.T.S.B., said at a news conference in California on Monday afternoon. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”

The helicopter did not carry a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators are spending their days searching a debris field of about 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.

But asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: “It was a pretty devastating accident scene.”

The Lakers and the Clippers will not play as planned on Tuesday night, the N.B.A. said Monday, as the players and others throughout basketball grieve the death of Kobe Bryant, a star with the Lakers for two decades.

In a statement, the league said the game had been postponed to a later date, which was not immediately announced, “out of respect for the Lakers organization.”

Soon after the league’s announcement, the Lakers expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said in a statement.

The Lakers last played Saturday, when they lost at Philadelphia, and were traveling back to California when word of the helicopter crash that took Bryant’s life emerged. Staples Center, where both the Lakers and Clippers play their home games, has been the site of impromptu gatherings and tributes since Bryant’s death.

Eight other N.B.A. games scheduled for Tuesday are expected to be played as planned.

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of his instruments, which would have required an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Officially transitioning to instrument flight rules would have allowed the pilot to go on flying, even with very low visibility, but would not have allowed the flight to land except at an airport. The pilot might also have had to gain altitude in order to be fully visible on radar used by controllers.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact, under his “special” visual flight clearance.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167886834_4a12c1a5-2dd4-4a73-904c-aefa88957758-articleLarge Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The aircraft that crashed, shown here in February 2018, was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.Credit…Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

The helicopter was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and its passengers included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who played at the school.

Bryant coached her team, and Gianna, whose nickname was Gigi, was “hellbent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and in the W.N.B.A., he told The Los Angeles Times last year.

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Many of the mourners who have grieved Bryant’s death in and around Los Angeles have been Latinos with whom the Lakers star cultivated a special bond over his 20-year career.

“Latino fans are important to me because when I arrived, they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said in 2016 after his final N.B.A. game. “I told them, ‘Give me two or three years so that I can learn a little bit of Spanish.’ Now, my Spanish is not that good, but I can speak a little. They mean everything to me.”

And so as Los Angeles has reeled from the loss of one of its athletic greats, Latino fans have flocked to vigils and memorials, referring to Bryant as “compa,” slang for a friend (and short for the Spanish word “compadre”).

Bryant’s ties to Latinos also extended beyond his professional life: With his wife, Vanessa, he has raised four black Mexican-American daughters in Southern California.

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sarah Mervosh, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher

Video

transcript

Fans and Friends Mourn Kobe Bryant After Helicopter Crash

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” “Tonight is for Kobe —” [singing] “Kobe, my thoughts are with you. Absolutely rest in peace, young man — this loss is, it’s just hard to comprehend.” “He was just such a wonderful kid. But more than that, has turned into a wonderful adult man.” “Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously — really close friend, and this season’s for him.” Crowd: “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.” Announcer: “The N.B.A and the game of basketball will mourn this loss together. Please join us in a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Mamba.”

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-briefing-HS-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.CreditCredit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Just before air traffic controllers lost track of the helicopter that was carrying nine people, including Kobe Bryant, on Sunday, the pilot who was at the controls said that he was trying to fly higher to avoid a cloud layer, federal investigators said Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said there was no response from the pilot after controllers asked for more information, and radar suggested that the helicopter ascended to 2,300 feet and began a descending turn to the left.

Although investigators are scrutinizing weather conditions at the time of the crash — part of Southern California was shrouded in fog on Sunday morning — they are also examining the possibility that other issues played a role in the crash.

“We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the N.T.S.B., said at a news conference in California on Monday afternoon. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”

The helicopter did not carry a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators are spending their days searching a debris field of about 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.

But asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: “It was a pretty devastating accident scene.”

The Lakers and the Clippers will not play as planned on Tuesday night, the N.B.A. said Monday, as the players and others throughout basketball grieve the death of Kobe Bryant, a star with the Lakers for two decades.

In a statement, the league said the game had been postponed to a later date, which was not immediately announced, “out of respect for the Lakers organization.”

Soon after the league’s announcement, the Lakers expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said in a statement.

The Lakers last played Saturday, when they lost at Philadelphia, and were traveling back to California when word of the helicopter crash that took Bryant’s life emerged. Staples Center, where both the Lakers and Clippers play their home games, has been the site of impromptu gatherings and tributes since Bryant’s death.

Eight other N.B.A. games scheduled for Tuesday are expected to be played as planned.

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of his instruments, which would have required an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Officially transitioning to instrument flight rules would have allowed the pilot to go on flying, even with very low visibility, but would not have allowed the flight to land except at an airport. The pilot might also have had to gain altitude in order to be fully visible on radar used by controllers.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact, under his “special” visual flight clearance.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167886834_4a12c1a5-2dd4-4a73-904c-aefa88957758-articleLarge Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The aircraft that crashed, shown here in February 2018, was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.Credit…Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

The helicopter was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and its passengers included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who played at the school.

Bryant coached her team, and Gianna, whose nickname was Gigi, was “hellbent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and in the W.N.B.A., he told The Los Angeles Times last year.

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Many of the mourners who have grieved Bryant’s death in and around Los Angeles have been Latinos with whom the Lakers star cultivated a special bond over his 20-year career.

“Latino fans are important to me because when I arrived, they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said in 2016 after his final N.B.A. game. “I told them, ‘Give me two or three years so that I can learn a little bit of Spanish.’ Now, my Spanish is not that good, but I can speak a little. They mean everything to me.”

And so as Los Angeles has reeled from the loss of one of its athletic greats, Latino fans have flocked to vigils and memorials, referring to Bryant as “compa,” slang for a friend (and short for the Spanish word “compadre”).

Bryant’s ties to Latinos also extended beyond his professional life: With his wife, Vanessa, he has raised four black Mexican-American daughters in Southern California.

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sarah Mervosh, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Lakers-Clippers Game Postponed

Video

transcript

Fans and Friends Mourn Kobe Bryant After Helicopter Crash

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” “Tonight is for Kobe —” [singing] “Kobe, my thoughts are with you. Absolutely rest in peace, young man — this loss is, it’s just hard to comprehend.” “He was just such a wonderful kid. But more than that, has turned into a wonderful adult man.” “Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously — really close friend, and this season’s for him.” Crowd: “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.” Announcer: “The N.B.A and the game of basketball will mourn this loss together. Please join us in a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Mamba.”

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-briefing-HS-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Lakers-Clippers Game Postponed Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.CreditCredit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

The Lakers and the Clippers will not play as planned on Tuesday night, the N.B.A. said Monday, as the players and others throughout basketball grieve the death of Kobe Bryant, a star with the Lakers for two decades.

In a statement, the league said the game had been postponed to a later date, which was not immediately announced, “out of respect for the Lakers organization.”

Soon after the league’s announcement, the Lakers expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said in a statement.

The Lakers last played Saturday, when they lost at Philadelphia, and were traveling back to California when word of the helicopter crash that took Bryant’s life emerged. Staples Center, where both the Lakers and Clippers play their home games, has been the site of impromptu gatherings and tributes since Bryant’s death.

Eight other N.B.A. games scheduled for Tuesday are expected to be played as planned.

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of his instruments, which would have required an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Officially transitioning to instrument flight rules would have allowed the pilot to go on flying, even with very low visibility, but would not have allowed the flight to land except at an airport. The pilot might also have had to gain altitude in order to be fully visible on radar used by controllers.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact, under his “special” visual flight clearance.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167886834_4a12c1a5-2dd4-4a73-904c-aefa88957758-articleLarge Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Lakers-Clippers Game Postponed Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The aircraft that crashed, shown here in February 2018, was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.Credit…Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Many of the mourners who have grieved Bryant’s death in and around Los Angeles have been Latinos with whom the Lakers star cultivated a special bond over his 20-year career.

“Latino fans are important to me because when I arrived, they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said in 2016 after his final N.B.A. game. “I told them, ‘Give me two or three years so that I can learn a little bit of Spanish.’ Now, my Spanish is not that good, but I can speak a little. They mean everything to me.”

And so as Los Angeles has reeled from the loss of one of its athletic greats, Latino fans have flocked to vigils and memorials, referring to Bryant as “compa,” slang for a friend (and short for the Spanish word “compadre”).

Bryant’s ties to Latinos also extended beyond his professional life: With his wife, Vanessa, he has raised four black Mexican-American daughters in Southern California.

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sarah Mervosh, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Helicopter With Kobe Bryant Approved to Fly in Fog: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167927064_81cf96bf-d933-4fc9-ad42-dd886feef481-articleLarge Helicopter With Kobe Bryant Approved to Fly in Fog: Live Updates Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

A memorial for Kobe Bryant sits outside of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., near Philadelphia. Bryant played at the school before going to the N.B.A.Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to instrument flight rules, with an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Live Updates: Helicopter With Kobe Bryant Got Special Approval to Fly

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167927064_81cf96bf-d933-4fc9-ad42-dd886feef481-articleLarge Live Updates: Helicopter With Kobe Bryant Got Special Approval to Fly Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

A memorial for Kobe Bryant sits outside of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., near Philadelphia. Bryant played at the school before going to the N.B.A.Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to allow the helicopter to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight permission to continue on to Calabasas.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

The helicopter was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and its passengers included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who played at the school.

Bryant coached her team, and Gianna, whose nickname was Gigi, was “hellbent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and in the W.N.B.A., he told The Los Angeles Times last year.

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com