The helicopter that Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were travelling in on Sunday was trying to clear a layer of cloud before it crashed into the ground, investigators have said.
Instead of clearing the clouds, the helicopter began to bank sharply before heading towards the ground at a speed of 2,000 feet (610m) per minute.
A minute later, the twin-engine Sikorsky S-76B hit a hillside and burst into flames, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Speaking at a press conference in Calabasas in California, close to the crash site, Jennifer Homendy, a board member for the NTSB said: “This is a pretty steep descent at high speed.
“The time from descent to impact was probably about a minute.”
She added that radar data shows that the helicopter climbed 2,300ft (701m) from 1,400ft (427m), then began a “left descending turn” before losing contact with air traffic control.
The NTSB have so far not given an explanation as to why the helicopter ended up banking to one side before hitting the ground, but said that speed in which it fell out the sky “wouldn’t be a normal landing speed”.
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“We know this was a higher-energy-impact crash,” Ms Homendy added.
The pilot, Ara Zobayan, who had more than 8,000 flight hours, revealed in his last message to air traffic control that he was attempting to clear the clouds, and had minutes before just been given special clearance to fly in the heavy fog that had blanketed the area.
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The aircraft did not carry a “black box” recorder on board, nor did it have any other type of terrain awareness system, meaning piecing together the crash details may be more difficult.
However, the NTSB team of investigators have recovered an iPad, which is thought to have been used by the pilot to track flight and weather information.
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On Tuesday, investigators confirmed that they had recovered all nine bodies from the crash site, and had positively identified Bryant‘s body using fingerprints.
Three other passengers have also been formally identified, with work ongoing to confirm the identities of the other passengers.
Along with the LA Lakers icon and his daughter, others killed included Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Gianna.
The girls’ coach Christina Mauser also died, her husband confirmed.