On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the NTSB said an episode of spatial disorientation by the pilot in heavy fog caused the helicopter crash that killed retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, the pilot and six others on January 26, 2020.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, “the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s decision to continue flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in the pilot spatial disorientation and loss of control.”
The NTSB also determined Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management process contributed to the crash.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see these same issues influence poor decision making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes,” Sumwalt stated. “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened.”