Kobe Bryant death: Helicopter firm ‘was not licensed to fly in fog’

The owner of the helicopter that was carrying basketball great Kobe Bryant and eight other people when it crashed was not licensed to fly in foggy conditions, an official has said.

Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating under visual flight rules, meaning pilots must be able to see clearly outside the aircraft in daylight, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesman Keith Holloway.

While pilot Ara Zobayan was licensed to fly using only cockpit instruments, he did not have legal authority for that specific flight because the charter company did not have the necessary certification, sources told the New York Times.

Authorities have warned that the recovery and investigation will take time
Image:The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California last Sunday

The aircraft was reportedly equipped for instrument flying but Mr Holloway told Reuters news agency that it was not known if Mr Zobayan was doing so at the time of the crash.

He added that a preliminary report on the crash, which is expected in about 10 days, may provide answers.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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