Over a year after Kobe Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash, the National Transportation Safety Board released an official statement regarding its probable cause.
In a report published by TMZ, it has been revealed that NTSB is blaming the helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan, for the crash.
Zobayan and Bryant died alongside seven other passengers: Kobe's daughter Gianna Bryant; John Altobelli--the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College--his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester; and Christina Mauser.
The agency stated in the official release that Zobayan's poor decision to continue the flight despite the weather condition led to the crash.
"Contributing to the accident was the pilot's likely self-induced pressure and the pilot's plan continuation bias which adversely affected his decision-making and Island Express Helicopter Inc.'s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management processes," the statement went on.
The report detailed that the pilot's poor decision eventually caused him to lose his control and experience spatial disorientation. The condition led the pilot to think that the aircraft was climbing up although, in fact, it was descending.
One NTSB investigator noted that the pilot did not know which way was up in the moments before the crash.
Kobe Bryant Did NOT Pressure Ara Zobayan
Earlier in the NTSB meeting, the investigators said that the late Los Angeles Lakers superstar did not pressure Zobayan to fly against extreme weather conditions.
However, the pilot himself broke the rules to allegedly please his well-renowned client.
Bryant and Zobayan shared a long professional relationship, and the late basketball superstar trusted him to fly his children even when he was not with them.
The self-induced pressure played a role in the crash that led to Kobe Bryant's death.
NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg blamed Zobayan, saying that he should have known the danger of the weather condition.
Instead of turning around to land at Van Nuys airport, the aircraft continued flying against the clouds.
Meanwhile, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt confirmed that the pilot was under visual flight rules (VFR). Zobayan then broke the law for pushing the fatal decision to fly despite going into VFR mode.
The officials offered their main takeaways that could have prevented the tragic incident.
First, they believe Zobayan had many chances to safely land anywhere before experiencing spatial disorientation and crashing the aircraft.
The investigators also suggested that having a second pilot could have saved the lives of the victims.