911 calls made by the witnesses of the fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others, gave insight into how it went down.
On Sunday, January 26th, a helicopter carrying the retired NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others crashed into a canyon in Calabasas, California. And ever since, the public has wondered went wrong.
A few individuals — five to be exact — witnessed the crash the moment it happened and placed calls to 911. On Monday, authorities released the content of those calls.
Kobe Bryant poses with his family after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on Dec. 18, 2017 in California | Photo: Getty Images
The first call came from a man who thought what he was seeing was a bush fire east of Las Virgenes Road. He told the dispatcher that he could see flames and smoke, and the dispatcher said they were coming to check it out.
The second caller, a man, was more accurate than the first. He was hiking on the Las Virgenes Road, and told the dispatcher,
"I could hear the plane, as if it was in the clouds, but couldn't see it. Then [I] just heard a boom, and a dead sound, and I could see the flames."
The caller added that the hill and whatever crashed into it caught fire. By this time, the dispatchers were already aware of the crash and taking the necessary actions.
The third caller was more certain of what he saw. He was at the Erewhon Market on Agoura Road in Calabasas when he heard the copter crash into the mountain.
He noted that the aircraft seemed to be flying without Instrument Flight Rules, and it went down before getting to Mulholland Drive.
Gianna and Kobe Bryant attending the WNBA All-Star Game in July 2019. | Photo: Getty Images
He told dispatch he was looking at the flames, and emergency vehicles were already arriving at this time. The fourth caller had a better grasp of what went down.
The caller said that he was near the Municipal Water District when he saw the helicopter heading east. He told dispatch,
"It's thick in the clouds, and then I heard a pop, and it immediately stopped."
The caller believes that the copter went into the highest peak in the east, but the top of the mountain was covered in clouds. He noted that the aircraft seemed to be flying without Instrument Flight Rules, and it went down before getting to Mulholland Drive.
The fifth call was from the first caller. He reiterated what he told dispatch at first and gave them more detailed information on the location of the crash.
The LA County Fire dispatchers released the audio, but it didn't reveal the time stamp of the calls. However, the crash occurred at about 9:45 am, which is less than an hour after it left an airfield in Orange County.
Bryant, his daughter, and the seven others were going for a basketball game at Thousand Oaks. The investigation into the leading cause of the crash is still ongoing, and the NTBS is expected to release a preliminary report this week.