Ara Zobayan ID’d as Pilot Killed in Calabasas Helicopter Crash
Calabasas, California (January 27, 2019) – The pilot who was killed Sunday morning when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas has been identified as Ara Zobayan.
The deadly crash took place at about 9:47 a.m. Sunday, January 26 in the 4200 block of Las Virgenes Road, just approximately 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Authorities said Zobayan was flying a 1991 Sikorsky S-76b helicopter owned by Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant and were heading to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks when their helicopter crashed into a rugged hillside and burst into flames.
All nine people aboard the Sikorsky S-76 were killed in the crash, including Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, 13.
According to the authorities, the helicopter was built in 1991. It was registered to Island Express Holding Corp.
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that started in 1996 straight out of a high school and lasted until his retirement in 2016.
It is undetermined if foggy conditions contributed to the crash.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.