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Debris Removed From Scene Of Helicopter Crash In Calabasas Which Killed Nine, Including Kobe Bryant

Even as people still reel from the shock of the weekend helicopter crash in Calabasas which killed six people, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant, we are beginning to learn more about what led to the crash. The helicopter was headed from Orange County to Ventura County when it crashed in the rugged mountains off of Las Virgenes Road. Authorities said they completed recovery of the remains of all of the victims Tuesday.

And, after carefully mapping the nearly 600 foot debris field, and photographing it, the debris was collected and removed from the crash site.

NTSB investigators are just getting started in an investigative process which could take more than a year. Many questions have been raised about weather conditions. Low clouds and fog delayed the flight, with the helicopter circling over the Los Angeles area until the pilot got permission to proceed under visual, as opposed to instrument flight conditions. But, for some reason the westbound helicopter circled back east, diving rapidly and smashing into the hillside.

There is technology which could warn a helicopter pilot that they are approaching terrain. But, it’s not required in choppers like the one which crashed, a Sikorsky S-76B. The NTSB team noted that following another deadly crash years ago, her agency had recommended the use of the technology, but was overridden by the FAA.

The helicopter’s pilot had more than 8,000 hours of flight time, including more than 1200 in the type of helicopter which crashed. The NTSB team also noted that while he asked for, and received special permission to fly under visual conditions, it was a request which was commonly granted.

The NTSB team will have a preliminary report done in about ten days. But, that report contains just the facts about the accident, and the final report with conclusions will take much longer, perhaps 12 to 18 months.