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Autopsy Looks at Kobe Pilot's System for Clues

The official report also gives cause of death for all 9 passengers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2020 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The pilot flying Kobe Bryant and seven others to a youth basketball tournament did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, and all nine sustained immediately fatal injuries when their helicopter slammed into a hillside outside Los Angeles in January, according to autopsies released Friday. The reports by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office provide a clinical but unvarnished look at the brutality of the crash, the AP reports. One of the most popular sports figures in Los Angeles and a celebrity around the globe, Bryant was broken beyond recognition when his body was found outside the wreckage of the chopper, His remains had to be identified by his fingerprints. The report made it clear: Bryant and the passengers almost certainly were dead in an instant due to blunt trauma.

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"These injuries are rapidly if not instantly fatal," wrote Juan Carrillo, senior deputy medical examiner, in Bryant’s report. The crash that killed the 41-year-old retired Los Angeles Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, pilot Ara Zobayan, and the others is considered accidental. The group encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. Zobayan, an experienced pilot who often flew Bryant, climbed sharply and had nearly succeeded breaking through the clouds when the craft took an abrupt left turn and plunged into the hills below. When it struck the ground, it was flying at about 184 mph and descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet per minute. Bryant's body was found on one side of the wreckage and his daughter was found in a ravine on the opposite side. (The pilot's brother blames Kobe and Gianna.)


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