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Congress to Consider A Helicopter Safety Act After Kobe Crash

NTSB investigator Carol Horgan examines wreckage as part of the NTSB’s investigation of the the crash of a Sikorsky S76B helicopter near Calabasas, California, Jan. 26. (NTSB photo by James Anderson)
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Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Burbank) today called for tougher safety standards for helicopters, just days after a crash in Calabasas crash killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.

At issue:

  • Federal safety investigators said the helicopter did not have a "Terrain Awareness and Warning System."
  • In 2004, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that system on all helicopters.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not adopt the proposal

Sherman said he's introducing the "Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act" in Congress to require that warning system on all helicopters. He said the bill, if passed, will also require the FAA to work with the NTSB on additional safety standards. The statement from Sherman's office also said:

Had this system been on the helicopter, it is likely the tragic crash could have been avoided. These systems cost between $25,000 to $40,000 per helicopter.

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Investigators have not determined a cause of the crash. So far, they've said the helicopter lost communicationwith air traffic control at 2,300 feet above sea level. After that, the aircarft descended rapidly, at a rate of over 2,000 feet per minute. In addition, foggy conditions created poor visilbility in the area at the time of the crash.