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Kobe Bryant’s Sikorsky S-76 pilot had no drugs in system during crash

written by Adam Thorn | May 18, 2020
The debris field Kobe Bryant
The debris field from the Jan. 26, crash of a Sikorsky S76B helicopter near Calabasas, California, that killed Kobe Bryant (NTSB photo by James Anderson; Wikicommons)

The pilot flying Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others didn’t have drugs in his system when his Sikorsky S-76 crashed into a hillside in January, an autopsy has revealed.

The National Transportation Safety Board also said there was no sign of a mechanical failure and will continue its investigation, which is expected to take months.

New details have also emerged about the accident, including that the NBA legend’s body was so badly disfigured that it had to be identified by his fingerprints.


The accident involved Bryant, pilot Ara Zobayan and seven others, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

The group were heading from Bryant’s Orange County home to his daughter’s basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks on the morning of 26 January.

The pilot encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, climbed sharply but then his helicopter took an abrupt left turn and plunged into the hills below at 184 mph.

The impact caused a huge crater, described as being the size of a football field in the Calabasas hills.

Flames then engulfed the wreckage.


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