16 May 2020

Pilot in fatal Kobe Bryant crash had no alcohol or drugs in system

4:19 pm on 16 May 2020

All nine victims who died in the helicopter crash that killed basketball star Kobe Bryant died of blunt force trauma, a post-mortem examination has shown.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 27: Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend a basketball game at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas, last July. Photo: AFP

The 180-page report also found that the pilot, 50-year-old Ara Zobayan, tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

The cause of the 26 January crash, which occurred in California amid heavy fog, is still being investigated.

Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was with him on board the helicopter.

The passengers - who included two of Gianna's basketball teammates, their relatives and a coach - were on their way to a tournament in Thousand Oaks where Bryant had been set to coach.

Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester and Christina Mauser all died alongside the Bryants and pilot Ara Zobayan when the helicopter crashed into a hill just north of Los Angeles.

"On January 28, the cause of death for all nine victims was ruled as blunt trauma," the examination said. "The manner of death was certified as an accident."

Investigators work at the scene of a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Monday, January 27, 2020 that killed 9 people included former Los Angeles Laker star and NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria.

Investigators comb the scene for clues to the crash in California that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant, in January. Photo: AFP

The results of the post-mortem examination were posted on the website of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner office today.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game's history.

He retired in April 2016 after a 20-year career with the team.

Lawyers for his widow, Vanessa Bryant, have filed a lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter.

It alleges that Zobayan - who died in the crash - did not assess weather data before taking off.

Separately, earlier this year, the sheriff of Los Angeles County said eight deputies had admitted possessing graphic photos of the crash site.

Alex Villanueva said he was "devastated and heartbroken" by their conduct. He said he had instructed the deputies to delete the images.

US basketball player Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa Laine Bryant attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 91st Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on February 24, 2019.

Vanessa Bryant and her husband, Kobe, attending a Vanity Fair Oscars party in Beverly Hills in February, 2019. Photo: AFP


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