The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the release of an Aircraft Accident Investigative Update on the fatal crash of a Sikorsky SK76B helicopter on January 26, 2020, that claimed the lives of nine people, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant, the company said.
The following are statements from the helicopter and airplane pilots and aviation attorneys at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, a law firm devoted to aviation law.
The law firm said the report indicates the pilot of the aircraft almost certainly had to enter the clouds. He then appears to have become spatially disoriented in the clouds, and the helicopter entered a high-speed left descending spiral and crashed into terrain. The NTSB does not indicate whether the pilot, who was instrument rated, was instrument current, which, if true, could be a factor in the accident.
According to the 200,000-member organization AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) nearly half of all weather-related accidents happen as a result of continued visual flight rules (VFR) flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and the vast majority of those accidents are fatal.
The preliminary report indicates that the NTSB to date has found no mechanical cause for the accident, which points the finger at weather and pilot error, which are often determined by process of elimination.
Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has represented families in cases that resulted in personal injury and wrongful death involving aircraft from every major helicopter manufacturer.