The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight other passengers that crashed into a hillside in Southern California on Sunday was in a climbing left turn about 2,400 feet high before it dove to the ground, a person familiar with preliminary investigative information about the fatal crash told ESPN.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told ESPN that the pilot had only moments before contacted air traffic controllers to say that he had begun a climb to “go above the layer” of clouds present.
The chopper went down in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, after departing John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9:06 a.m. PT. The first 911 call reporting the crash was received at 9:47 a.m.
Authorities said nine people were aboard the helicopter and presumed dead. Bryant, an all-time basketball great who spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was among the victims.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also was killed, a source told ESPN.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to the site. The NTSB typically issues a preliminary report within about 10 days of a crash that gives a rough summary of what investigators have learned. A ruling on the cause of an aviation crash can take a year or more.