Here’s When to Expect Services for the Other Victims Killed in Kobe Bryant’s Devastating Helicopter Crash
One week after the devastating crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others, new details continue to unfold. In the meantime, many are leaving condolences at makeshift memorial sites to honor the Lakers icon. The loss of an NBA legend is heavy, but his memorial coverage is readily available. When are services for the other victims?
Kobe Bryant’s funeral plans are underway
“We don’t have that date finalized, but we’ve been talking every day to the Lakers, and most importantly, to [Bryant’s widow, Vanessa] as well,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said following the crash.
With so many fans in mourning, it’s unclear where Bryant’s funeral will take place. It could be a large arena, such as the Staples Center, or somewhere more private.
When are services for the victims?
Bodies of all nine victims have been identified by examiners. Many wonder when their funerals will take place. “Round-the-clock testing and analysis of DNA” by the Los Angeles County Department Examiner-Coroner determined the names of those alongside Bryant. Their names are important to remember, too.
Aside from Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, occupants included Payton Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, Sarah Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Part of the delay in planning the crash victims’ funerals involves a preliminary report from the Federal Safety Agency.
“The typical time frame is about 10 business days for the preliminary to be posted to the NTSB website,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.
NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said the final report could take as long as 18 months. A preliminary report includes enough vital information so that loved ones can make plans for memorializing their loved ones.
A source with the Los Angeles Exposition Park sports complex told CNN that Bryant’s memorial is “probably not for at least two weeks, maybe longer.” Another source said it could be “weeks” for any of the funerals.
New details about the crash reveal disturbing information about helicopter company
The charter company Island Express owned the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. The company announced they’d suspend all operations but shouldn’t have allowed Bryant’s helicopter to fly at all.
“The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers,” the company statement said.
Multiple sources state that Zobayan didn’t have the certifications to switch to instrument flying rules (IFR). He was restricted to visual flight rules (VFR) which are different ways to navigate foggy conditions.
A different operator told The New York Times that, despite Zobayan having the license to fly in that weather, he should’ve been restricted because the company didn’t have the necessary requirements.
Since the crash, a lot of new information has come to light. NTSB found Bryant’s helicopter wasn’t equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS). It may not have saved the passengers but given them a better chance of survival with warning systems in place.
Kurt Deetz, a former pilot with Island Express said Zobayan could’ve grounded the flight at Burbank Airport but may not have wanted to disappoint the passengers.
“Psychologically, that’s the hardest part,” Deetz told the Los Angeles Times. “Biting the bullet and saying, ‘The weather’s crap, I have to turn back.’ It’s hard to accept the fact you can’t get the job done.”