Federal investigators found no indication that engine failure contributed to the Calabasas helicopter crash that killed retired Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, according to a preliminary report released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
“All significant components of the helicopter were located within the wreckage area,” according to the report. “Examination of the main and tail rotor assemblies found damage consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact.
“… Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure,” according to the report. “The No. 2 engine first-stage compressor blades exhibited tip curl in the direction opposite of rotation, consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact.”
The preliminary report makes no conclusions on the cause of the crash, but gives a general summary of information gathered by investigators so far. The full review of the crash — and a determination on the cause — could take as long as 18 months.
“Our investigators have already developed a substantial amount of evidence about the circumstances of this tragic crash,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement. “And we are confident that we will be able to determine its cause as well as any factors that contributed to it so we can make safety recommendations to prevent accidents like this from occurring again.”
Along with the 41-year-old Bryant and his daughter Gianna, also killed in the Jan. 26 crash were:
— John Altobelli, 56, longtime coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team, along with his wife, Keri, 46, and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa, who was a teammate of Gianna on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team;
— Sarah Chester, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter Payton, who also played with Gianna and Alyssa;
— Christina Mauser, 38, one of Bryant’s assistant coaches on the Mamba Academy team; and
— Ara Zobayan, 50, the helicopter pilot.