The final minutes of interaction between the pilot of the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and air traffic controllers did not indicate any cause for alarm – until the communication suddenly ceased.
That was a bad sign that within seconds turned into the worst possible outcome.
The NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people were killed in a Sunday morning crash outside Los Angeles that has left many questions, chief among them: Why were they flying in foggy conditions that prompted the police department to ground its helicopters?
That query quickly came to mind for Robert Ditchey, a longtime airplane pilot, aeronautical engineer and former airline executive who lives in Los Angeles. A team of investigators is looking into the reasons for the tragedy, but Ditchey said he suspected right away that weather was a factor, and the notion was reinforced when he found out the aircraft in question was a helicopter.
“This was totally avoidable, and on the part of some people I can go as far as to say irresponsible,’’ Ditchey said. “Here’s one of the most important people in the world who comes to a tragic end like this and you say, ‘Why? What the hell happened?’’’