Kobe Bryant crash: Helicopter makers vow to probe deadly incident as safety record comes under scrutiny
The manufacturer of the helicopter that crashed killing Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others has vowed to investigate the incident.
In a statement Lockheed Martin vowed to provide assistance to the NTSB in probing the fiery crash near Calabasas that killed the NBA legend and sent shockwaves around the globe.
The Sikorsky S-76B is made by Sikorsky, a subsidiary of the firm. On the company website it is billed as an aircraft specialising in search and rescue and VIP and executive transportation. Sikorsky models are used by President Trump and nine other global heads of state.
“We extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by today’s Sikorsky S-76B accident in Calabasas, California,” the statement said.
“We have been in contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and support to the investigative authorities and our customer. Safety is our top priority; if there are any actionable findings from the investigation, we will inform our S-76 customers.”
The Sikorsky S-76B can carry up to 12 passengers and has a top speed of 178mph. It reportedly costs $13m (around £10m).
Two crashes have been reported involving a Sikorsky S-76B in recent years.
In Canada, in 2013, an air ambulance Sikorsky crashed killing four. In 2017, seven were killed in a crash in Turkey including five Russian businessmen.
The company boasts of ‘more than 7.4 million hours of safe, successful flight.’
The helicopter model is used by celebrities across the world including members of the British royal family.
Last year the Duchess of Cornwall had a near-miss on her helicopter as it swerved to avoid a glider but there was no suggestion of any mechanical malfunction.
Kobe Bryant previously spoke out about his use of private helicopters telling GQ that it was a means of maintaining his body due to the discomfort experienced by travelling from his home by car to the Lakers’ arena.