LAPD: Flights Were Grounded Over Fog When Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Crashed

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
January 27, 2020 Updated: January 27, 2020

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed its helicopter flights were grounded due to fog when former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed, killing him and eight others, on Sunday.

The department’s Air Support Division was grounded from Sunday morning until the afternoon, LAPD spokesperson Josh Rubenstein told CBS News.

“The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying,” he said. The fog, he added, “was enough that we were not flying.”

The department usually flies two helicopters in better conditions, he added. One is flown around the San Fernando Valley and one in the Los Angeles basin.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the people who died in the crash in Calabasas, California, according to a statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The LAPD confirmed in a news conference that nine people died in the crash, although the department didn’t confirm whether Bryant or his daughter were on board.

“It’s horrible,” said Matt Mauser, the husband of a woman who died in the crash. “I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” he told NBC News, referring to his wife, Christina Mauser, who was the assistant coach for Gianna Bryant’s Mamba Academy basketball team.

“He picked her because she was amazing,” Mauser said. “I was so proud of her and she was so happy.”

Following Bryant’s sudden death, there has been an outpouring of support on social media.

“There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice (sic) Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW,” wrote former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter. The two won three NBA championships in a row in the early 2000s.

Epoch Times Photo
Kobe Bryant (C) and Shaquille O’Neal (R) listen to former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson (L) in a file photo (JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s been one of the harder times of my life,” said Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Luke Walton.

Derek Fisher, another Lakers teammate who won several championships with Bryant, wrote on Twitter: “Struggling to process what is now a reality. Kobe’s life after basketball was just beginning and his second act was going to be even greater. His legacy, Gigi’s legacy both will live on forever!”

Bryant’s former Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, also responded in a statement. “The crash was a tragedy for multiple families,” Jackson wrote. “My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones. Kobe was a chosen one—special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil.”

When he retired in 2016, Bryant was the third-leading scorer in NBA history. In 2008, he was the league MVP, a two-time NBA scoring champion, and won five NBA championships.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.