The pilot of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter was warned he was “too low” moments before the tragic crash [COURTESY
Kobe Bryant pilot was warned “you are too low” by air traffic control before crash
NBA legend Bryant and daughter Gianna were among nine people killed after his aircraft crashed in California on Sunday.
Los Angeles Police Department have confirmed conditions were not suitable for flying before the fatal trip.
Chilling audio footage between the pilot and air traffic control reveals an attempt to guide the helicopter before fatally losing contact.
The pilot is heard asking the controller if the helicopter was OK to go ahead and start its transition – after a special VFR (visual flight rules) was requested, meaning only one aircraft is allowed in the airspace.
The audio footage shows the controller asking if the aircraft was ‘transitioning in VFR conditions’
The flight is then passed over as the pilot is told to contact SoCal 134.2 for the flight approach.
The chilling footage then shows the pilot not being heard due to the low altitude as it crashes to its descent.
Socal approach controllers are heard asking the pilot “say intentions” as it fails to contact the aircraft.
The controller then tells the pilot: “you are too low level for flight following at this time.”
The term was used in reference to the controller no longer being able to read the radar, rather than the descent of the helicopter.
Radar contact between air traffic control and the helicopter is then lost with no more communications received.
It is also reported the controller stated the helicopter had a ‘go-around’, a rare manoeuvre where an aircraft cancels its landing due to low visibility.
Flight radars show the helicopter circles around for 15 minutes and tried to turn before crashing.
Meanwhile, Bryant’s former pilot has disregarded the notion engine failure was responsible for the helicopter crash.
Kobe’s former pilot Kurt Deetz described the helicopter involved in the crash as being like a “limousine”, with a strong safety record.
Deetz flew the NBA star between 2014 and 2016, and logged more than 1,000 hours with the Sikorsky S-76B that crashed.
He explained the tragedy was likely the result of bad weather rather than a technical fault, adding that when he heard the news his “heart sank”.
Deetz told the Los Angeles Times: “The likelihood of a catastrophic twin engine failure on that aircraft – it just doesn’t happen.”
He added the helicopter was in “fantastic” condition, comparable to a “limousine”, and owned by a company – Island Express Helicopters – with a “very good maintenance programme.”