A MAN who saw the Kobe Bryant helicopter tragedy says the nine victims likely "didn’t suffer" because crash was "very quick."
Scott Daehlin described hearing the chopper plummet nearly 500 feet in just 15 seconds before smashing into a Los Angeles hillside — killing all nine on board.
Speaking to Extra, Daehli said he was disturbed on Sunday when he heard the doomed Sikorsky S-76B hovering directly above him in Calabasas, California, at 9:43 am.
Daehlin estimated the chopper was about “100, 150 feet” above him but it was obscured by thick clouds and fog before it crashed, killing all passengers – including Kobe's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
“My alarm bells went off because I thought, ‘This is awfully low,'” the sound engineer said of the insidious sound he heard this weekend.
The chopper finally flew off about 20 seconds later, according to Daehlin – he heard the “thump” of the fatal impact as it crashed into the hill.
“It was not very loud," he told the outlet, adding the “rotors stopped literally immediately” with no explosion.
"You could hear the crushing, collapsing of fiberglass, Plexiglas," Daehlin continued. “It just all stopped.
“I hope that the occupants didn’t suffer because it was very, very quick," he told the news outlet.
Daehlin called 911 within 45 seconds of the crash as emergency services arrived within minutes.
Speaking about the pilot Ara Zobayan who was told he was flying too low, the witness told Extra: “I think he was just disoriented and did not know where he was.
“I just think he was disoriented. I didn’t hear any malfunctions."
As well as Kobe, his teenage daughter and the pilot, six others lost their lives in the tragic crash.
Orange Coast College basket ball coach John Altobelli and his wife Keri and their teenage daughter Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Gianna at the Mamba Academy.
Christina Mauser, a girls' basketball coach at a K-8 private school in Orange County, died when the helicopter spun out of control, alongside Sarah Chester and her teen daughter Payton.
The helicopter circled for around 15 minutes and while air traffic control cleared air space, the chopper set off for its final destination in thick fog.
The group had taken off from John Wayne Airport in foggy weather at 9.06 am, headed for the sports academy in Thousand Oaks.
Weather conditions worsened 14 minutes after takeoff, and when the helicopter approached Burbank at 9.20 am the pilot began to circle the air space over the city.
They went round for almost 15 minutes keeping in constant contact with air traffic control.
Data from the final 15 seconds of the doomed flight shows that the helicopter descended 425 feet prior to impact.
Experienced helicopter pilot Phillipe Lesourd told The Sun it looks like the pilot saw some low cloud, tried to turn around and lost control.
Zobayan was in a valley between the Santa Monica Mountains, so it would have likely been to escape the fog and try to fly over the cover.
Questions remain about why the aircraft was flying when most helicopter traffic was grounded, including the Los Angeles Police Department's own fleet, due to the foggy conditions.
A major part of the investigation will be who made the decision to fly in such treacherous weather will almost certainly form a part of any investigation.
Pilot Ara Zobayan was certified to fly in foggy weather and would have had a say on whether to fly or not.
And the FAA have confirmed to The Sun that it is usually the pilot who makes the decision to fly when the conditions are potentially problematic.
Source: Read Full Article