By STEFANIE DAZIO, BRIAN MELLEY and DAVID KOENIG/AP NEWS

The pilot who crashed the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, killing all nine aboard, made a series of poor decisions that led him to fly blindly into a wall of clouds where he became so disoriented he thought he was climbing when the craft was plunging toward a Southern California hillside, federal safety officials said Tuesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board primarily blamed pilot Ara Zobayan in the Jan. 26, 2020 crash that killed him along with Bryant, the basketball star’s daughter and six other passengers heading to a girls basketball tournament.

Zobayan, an experienced pilot, ignored his training, violated flight rules by flying into conditions where he couldn’t see and failed to take alternate measures, such as slowing down and landing or switching to auto-pilot, that would have averted the tragedy.

The NTSB said it was likely Zobayan felt pressure to deliver his star client to his daughter’s game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy. Officials believe Zobayan may have also felt “continuation bias,” an unconscious tendency among pilots to stick with the original plan despite changing conditions.

“The closer you get to the destination the more you think just maybe you can pull this off,” NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said Tuesday.

Read the original article on AP NEWS

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