Los Angeles County Sherriff Alex Villanueva revealed that he ordered eight of his deputies to delete graphic images of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in January. In a recent report, first responders on the site had discussed sharing images of the crash two days after the tragedy. At least two firefighters were also reported to have taken photos while at the crime scene.
Sherriff Villanueva addressed the issue on Monday and confirmed that he did order his deputies to delete all photos. The deputies who took the photos came forward themselves and deleted the photos. The department revealed that they were content that the deputies admitted to clicking photos. One of Vanessa Bryant's attorneys revealed that she was devasted after first hearing the news.
The lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. seeks general, economic and punitive damages. According to the lawsuit, the company’s breach of ‘duty and negligence’ was the cause of their deaths. It added that Ara Zobayan’s ‘negligent conduct’ caused Kobe Bryant and Gianna’s death, for which the Kobe Bryant helicopter company is ‘vicariously liable’.
As previously reported, Kobe Bryant’s pilot Ara Zobayan was trying to climb up while he was around 100 feet above the ground. Zobayan was allowed to fly below the flight following radar by the FAA regulations. As per the rules, he would stay legal as long as he could see half a mile and stayed away from the cloud. However, Ara Zobayan decided to climb a higher altitude so he could see better. He would have been at 4000 feet, comfortably above the clouds at 2400 feet.
The problem, however, was climbing 500 vertical feet of clouds. According to experts, it is ‘deliberately’ breaking Visual Flight Rules. It is illegal to fly up to a cloud layer because of the high possibility of a disaster, which is what happened. Without reference to the ground, the pilot can become disoriented, lose track of their way up and end up crashing.
I try and video /photograph all the weird stuff happening above my house in Glendale,CA. Unfortunately this morning I didn’t realize I was filming the helicopter Kobe Bryant, his daughter and others were in 31 minutes before they crashed . RIP pic.twitter.com/8zdiplvEbv— THEIR ONLY DREAMS (@theironlydreams) January 27, 2020
According to the LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, the fire had spread to a quarter of an acre. Jennifer Homendy, a National Transport Safety Board member, stated that pieces of the helicopter were scattered across 600 feet. One of the hills had an impact area. The tail was down on the left, the fuselage was on the other side and the main rotor ended up a hundred yards beyond the scene.