Probe, notoriety could lead to safer helicopters

NTSB video shows ravine, devastation


The dark story of the helicopter crash that took the lives of NBA icon Kobe Bryant and eight other people could have a brighter ending by prompting safety changes that save lives in the future, some experts say.

The plush, high-tech Sikorsky S-76B that slammed into a Southern California mountainside Sunday was not equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, TAWS, or data and voice black boxes, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy said this week that it’s too soon to determine whether TAWS would have altered the tragic outcome. But she also said that 15 years ago, the NTSB recommended the system be mandatory on helicopters seating six passengers or more.

The FAA declined to require the equipment, Homendy said. A similar NTSB recommendation for voice and data recorders also was rejected. The attention drawn by Bryant’s death has shone a spotlight on those safety issues.


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