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Kobe Bryant crash: NTSB say pilot legally barred from flying in clouds, may have been disoriented

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National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt said on Tuesday that the pilot of the helicopter that crashed with retired NBA star Kobe Bryant on board was legally prohibited from flying into the clouds, but did so anyway.

The pilot's actions have been in focus in the investigation into the crash of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter outside Los Angeles into hilly terrain just over one year ago.

The board said pilots can become confused about an aircraft's attitude and acceleration when they cannot see the sky or landscape around them, causing "spatial disorientation."

The board said previously an examination of the helicopter's engines and rotors found no evidence of "catastrophic mechanical failure" that could explain why the airship would have plunged into the terrain.

Bryant, 41, an 18-time National Basketball Association all-star with the Los Angeles Lakers, was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, two other girls and several friends to a youth basketball tournament at the time of the crash, which prompted an outpouring of shock and grief from sports fans worldwide.

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U.S. & Canada
Kobe Bryant, NBA, Helicopter Crash
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