A new report from ABC details what investigators now know about the final moments leading to the tragic helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and 7 other Americans.
An eyewitness has given the NTSB video that he says shows the helicopter flying lower than the fog before the crash as new videos are providing clues to the cause of the tragedy.
The helicopter had climbed in order to attempt to fly out of a cloud layer on a day of severe fog that grounded Police choppers.
The helicopter missed clearing a mountain by about 20-30 feet and the descent rate was rapid, 2000 feet per minute.
ABC news reports the helicopter containing the Bryants took off from John Wayne Airport near their home in Orange County before heading toward Thousand Oaks.
During the flight, the pilot radioed the air traffic tower at Burbank Airport to request permission to fly under special visual flight rules, Homendy said. The helicopter circled over Glendale for several minutes waiting for instructions from the Burbank tower before permission to fly visually was granted.
“It’s very common. This is not out of the ordinary,” Homendy said of the pilot’s request.
In the last moments of the flight, the helicopter climbed to 2,300 feet in an attempt to fly out of a cloud layer then suddenly made a rapid descent, she said.
“The descent rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 feet a minute,” Homendy said. “So we know that this was a high-energy impact crash. And the helicopter was in a descending left bank.”
Homendy said there was no evidence the helicopter broke apart before hitting the mountainside.
She said all the “significant components” of the aircraft were located at the crash site.
“Preliminary information is that the helicopter was in one piece when it impacted the terrain,” Homendy said.
She said the helicopter hit the mountain at about 1,085 feet. The aircraft missed clearing the mountain by 20 to 30 feet, but other, taller mountains nearby could have presented a similar challenge.
The helicopter was not equipped with a “black box” showing pertinent data from the aircraft at the time of the crash. However, investigators recovered an iPad that’s being analyzed at the NTSB laboratory in Washington to determine if it contains flight data.
She said the most difficult part of the investigation will be evaluating the pilot’s judgment about flying in foggy conditions.
“We can’t make any assumptions about what somebody is thinking,” Homendy said. “So our investigation is strictly focused on the facts, and then those facts will lead us to an analysis.”
Weather conditions on Sunday morning caused the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to ground its fleet of choppers, but Homendy said comparing that decision to the decision made by Bryant’s pilot is “an apples to oranges comparison.”
“We have to look at this specific crash and this specific helicopter,” Homendy said.
The remains of all of the victims have been recovered from the crash site, officials said on Tuesday.
The L.A. coroner officially identified four of those killed in the crash, including Bryant and Zobayan, and passengers John Altobelli, a local college baseball coach, and Sarah Chester.
ABC News has independently confirmed that other victims were Bryant’s daughter, Chester’s daughter, Payton, Altobelli’s wife, Kerri, and their daughter, Alyssa. Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach for a private school in Orange County, also was killed.
The L.A. Lakers were expected to resume practice on Wednesday. The team’s scheduled game on Tuesday night was postponed.