Final moments of Kobe Bryant's fatal helicopter crash revealed by investigators

By Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb

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That must have been a terrifyingly long last minute. Poor folks.

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So many of their children died in this accident too. This is terribly sad to hear. A lot of loved ones lost all around.

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Very sad.... RIP...

This could be avoided if FAA would hire competent, wise people...

Unfortunately FAA hires useless, incompetent workers...

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According to the ATC recordings, Zobayan was told he was unable to receive “flight following, which is an optional service that provides assistance to helicopter pilots. The air traffic controller told Zobayan he was flying too low for flight following. This meant that the helicopter was not being picked up by the tower’s radar, so the air traffic controller could not assist Zobayan.

That did not mean that Zobayan was flying too low or too close to the ground and putting the helicopter in danger, as some news outlets have implied. It is not clear if Zobayan requested flight following from the tower or if he was communicating with them before the crash. Not all of the audio is saved in the recordings.

Maxime Prades, a private pilot, said on Twitter in response to an article from The Daily Mirror saying the pilot was warned he was too low, “NO! that is NOT what this means. ‘too low for flight following’ is different than “you are too low.'”

Prades added, “flight following is an optional service you can request when you fly using visual flight rules (VFR) it gives “improved situational awareness and assists pilots in avoiding collisions with other aircraft” from ATC. You have to request it and you have to show up on their radar, which he didn’t because he was too low for radar coverage.

But that doesn’t mean he was out of the legal altitude ranges for his class and aircraft type. It’s something completely up to the pilot and safe to do.”

Zobayan was given special visual flight rules clearance by the Burbank Tower, meaning he was given permission to fly through the foggy conditions.

Another pilot, Josh Lesko, tweeted, “Misleading headline. ATC stated to the pilot that they would be too low to receive flight following, which is a standard service provided to VFR pilots. … ATC advised the pilot that they were too low to receive flight following. Not unusual. The special clearance … is call Special VFR, which is a very common procedure.”

You can listen to the ATC recordings and learn more below:

(It's amazing we can listen to these recordings so soon after the event. In many other anti-transparency places, they won't even release the recordings to the public.)

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Regardless of what actually happened, it is quite intriguing about the recent Bryant commercial with the funeral scene.

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