A bystander in Glendale, Calif., captured video footage of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant’s helicopter flying overhead just minutes before it crashed and erupted into flames in Calabasas, killing all nine passengers on board Sunday.
Glendale resident David Lyudmirsky began filming the footage around 9:29 a.m. and said he saw the helicopter circling overhead on West California Avenue for 12 to 13 minutes before it traveled northwest for another six minutes, before turning back southwest towards Calabasas, where it crashed at 9:45 am.
Lyudmirsky posted the video to Instagram with the caption: “I try and video /photograph all the weird stuff happening above my house in Glendale. Unfortunately this morning I didn’t realize I was filming the helicopter Kobe Bryant, his daughter and others were in 31 minutes before they crashed.”
Lyudmirsky told Fox News on Tuesday that his “house was shaking from a helicopter flying too low.”
“I didn’t think it was going to crash. I just wanted to go outside and see what the noise was about,” he said, recalling that the air was foggy but not unusually so for a California morning.
Officials are still investigating what led the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter to plunge from the sky in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and erupt into flames, causing a quarter-acre brush fire.
National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said at a press conference Monday that the helicopter, which was headed from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana to Burbank for a tournament at the sports academy, was awaiting permission to fly lower than the minimum 1,000-foot ceiling and 3 miles visibility required. In the interim, the chopper circled for 12 minutes until they received approval.
In addition to beloved basketball legend Bryant, onboard were his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna; her two teammates — Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester — as well as their basketball coach at Mamba Sports Academy, which Bryant founded; Christina Mauser; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester; Alyssa’s parents, John and Keri Altobelli; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan all perished in the crash.