The Mayor of Los Angeles has ordered city flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Kobe Bryant, the LA Lakers star who died in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday morning.
Landmark buildings have been bathed in Lakers purple and gold to remember #24. The LA City Hall:
The Santa Monica Pier glowed in purple and gold in a photo captured by KCAL 9 TV on Twitter:
This billboard has been seen in Omaha:
— Troy Piatkowski (@tpiatkowski) January 27, 2020
And Rhode Island!
— Johnny Villella (@JohnnyVillella) January 27, 2020
As LA absorbs the shock of the death of the 41-year-old retired star, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others, we’re now learning a few more details about the incident.
WHO-TV reported that the Sikorsky helicopter’s pilot was given permission to fly even though the LAPD had grounded its choppers because of bad visibility:
“The helicopter was operating under “special visual flight rules,” according to an air traffic control conversation with the pilot, captured by website LiveATC.net.
An SVFR clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard visual flight rules (VFR).
The Burbank Airport control tower allowed the helicopter to proceed northeast, following the Interstate 5 highway, using the SVFR clearance.
“Maintain special VFR at or below 2,500” the pilot confirmed to the controller.
Later in the flight, the pilot apparently asked for “flight following,” a service in which controllers are in regular contract with an aircraft.
The controller was recorded telling the pilot “2 echo X-ray, you’re still too low level for flight following at this time.” That could mean the helicopter was too low to be seen on air traffic control radar.”
Besides Bryant and his daughter, the head baseball coach of Orange Coast College and his daughter who played on the same team as Bryant’s daughter, and a Corona Del Mar elementary school basketball coach and mother died in the crash.
The LA County Coroner says it will take at least a couple of days to recover all the bodies because the helicopter crashed into the side of a hill in a rugged section of Calabasas, north of LA.