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Kobe: Horrifying Pictures show helicopter in ball of fire after deadly crash

Horrifying images have emerged of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter exploding in a ball of flames after slamming into a Los Angeles hillside, killing the NBA superstar, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others.
A man who was riding a mountain bike with a friend captured photographs of the inferno after witnessing the fogbound Sikorsky S-76B shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the UK’s Sun.
“Out of the fog came a helicopter and it slammed into the mountainside about 200 feet from where we were standing,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous.
“We were close enough that we could feel the air from the propellers. There was a huge fireball,” he said.
“One of the helicopter doors landed about 10 to 15 feet away from us. Helicopter parts were flying everywhere. There was very little left of the helicopter,” the witness added.
He and his pal rushed to the blazing wreckage to lend assistance, “but there were obviously no survivors,” the man said.
“We didn’t realize that Kobe Bryant was in the helicopter until we got back down to the parking lot,” he added. “Just the fact that a whole helicopter full of people crashed was shocking to us.”
Pilot Ara Zobayan had asked for and received what’s known as a “special visual flight rules” clearance to fly by sight in worse than normal visibility in the controlled airspace.
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Flying at 1,400 feet, he veered from Highway 101 below and smashed into the Calabasas hills, authorities said.
“We are not just focusing on weather,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Monday. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”
Radar data indicates the chopper climbed to 2,300 feet and then began a left descending turn, she said.
The aircraft didn’t have a black box, nor was it required to, Homendy added.
In addition to Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, the victims included college baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife, Keri Altobelli; girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser; mom Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton Chester; and Zobayan. *Culled from New York Post

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