NBA legend Kobe Bryant fondly called ‘The Black Mamba’ died in a helicopter crash including his daughter and three other passengers on-board.
All passengers were announced dead after the helicopter he was traveling exploded into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles.
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that started in 1996 and lasted until his retirement in 2016. He also did a two-time Olympic gold medallist.
The helicopter he and his daughter were traveling was described as a Sikorsky S-76, a popular business helicopter made by Lockheed Martin, the same aero-defense firm that makes fighter jets like F-16 and F-35 amongst others.
Kobe was fond of traveling in this helicopter and had demonstrated that he favored helicopter travel in LA to avoid the city’s famous traffic jams.
He was long utilizing this helicopter that was made in 1991 by Stratford, Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, which was sold on Lockheed Martin in 2015.
The helicopter is declared to be the safest in the business. Of the 12 helicopter models evaluated by the Los Angeles Times in 2018, the Sikorsky S-76 had the second-lowest price of deadly accidents per 100,000 flight hours at 0.22. Only the Airbus 130 was safer.
The Sikorsky S-76 is part of the S-76 series and was initially crafted to service the oil and gas industry people traveling to offshore rigs plus back.
The helicopter later converted a popular choice for corporate executives and VIPs. Many politicians and celebrities, including US President Donald Trump and members of the British royal family, accept this helicopter.
The helicopter was powered by two engines built by aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. Sikorsky should be sold 103 units of the S-76B till now.
The helicopter Kobe used was “wrapped in a gray-and-black paint scheme with his Mamba emblem on the side,” the Times informed.
The helicopter was often matched to a Cadillac or a limousine for its comfortable interior.
Although rated amongst the safest choppers, there have been two other deadly crashes involving the Lockheed Martin S-76B in recent years.
A medical helicopter crashed in Canada in 2013 destroying four people on board while in 2017 a crash in Turkey resulted in the deaths of seven people.