ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 232468
Last updated: 18 November 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Time:09:47 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic S76 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sikorsky S-76B
Owner/operator:Island Express Holding Corp
Registration: N72EX
C/n / msn: 760379
Fatalities:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Calabasas, Los Angeles County, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Santa Ana-John Wayne International Airport, CA (SNA/KSNA)
Destination airport:Camarillo Airport, CA (KCMA)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A Sikorsky S-76B helicopter impacted hilly terrain in Calabasas, Los Angeles County, California. All nine on board have
died. Five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant was among those on board.

ATC communications and radar data indicate the flight departed Santa Ana (KSNA) about 09:06 PST. N72EX proceeded to the north-northwest at an altitude of about 700 to 800 feet mean sea level (msl) under visual flight rules (VFR). At 09:20, as the aircraft neared the Burbank class C airspace, the pilot requested to transition the area along Highway 101. The current Burbank weather observation reported instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions. In response to the pilot’s request, the air traffic controller advised that cloud tops were reported at 2,400 feet msl and queried the pilot’s intentions; the pilot then requested a special VFR clearance (an ATC authorization to proceed in controlled airspace at less than VFR weather minima). The air traffic controller advised that the pilot would need to hold for a short time due to IFR traffic, which the pilot acknowledged. At 09:32, ATC cleared the pilot of N72EX to transition the class C surface area following the I-5 freeway, maintaining special VFR conditions at or below 2,500 feet. The pilot acknowledged with a correct readback and climbed to approximately 1,400 feet msl (600 feet agl). In response to query, the pilot replied to the Burbank ATC that he would follow Highway 118 and “loop around VNY [Van Nuys Airport]” to follow Highway 101. ATC acknowledged and coordinated.
At 09:39, as N72EX was passing west of Van Nuys at 1,500 feet msl, the VNY controller asked the pilot if he was in VFR conditions. The pilot replied “VFR conditions, one thousand five hundred,” and the VNY controller advised him to contact Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SCT) for radar advisory services.
The pilot reported to SCT that the flight was going to Camarillo at 1,500 feet. The SCT controller advised that he would not be able to maintain radar contact at that altitude and terminated services. The SCT controller was subsequently relieved by a different controller. At 09:45, the pilot of N72EX again contacted SCT and advised he was climbing above cloud layers and requested advisory services. The second controller was not aware of the aircraft, as services had previously been terminated, so asked the pilot to identify the flight. The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet. There were no further transmissions.
Radar/ADS-B data indicate the aircraft was climbing along a course aligned with Highway 101 just east of the Las Virgenes exit. Between Las Virgenes and Lost Hills Road, the aircraft reached 2,300 feet msl (approximately 1,500 feet above the highway, which lies below the surrounding terrain) and began a left turn. Eight seconds later, the aircraft began descending and the left turn continued. The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute (fpm), ground speed reached 160 knots. The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.

Background facts:
- The Sikorsky S-76 is a helicopter that first flew in 1978 and entered service in 1979.
- ASN has 43 fatal accidents on file
- N72EX was manufactured in 1991. It was the 374th S-76 built.
- Flew for the State of Illinois as N761LL in VIP config until it was sold in 2015, becoming N72EX.

sheriff briefing

____________________ (photo)



Flight track based on Flightradar24 and Flightaware data.

composite (using granular FR24 ADS-B data)

Revision history:

26-Jan-2020 19:04 Geno Added
26-Jan-2020 19:42 Captain Adam Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Source, Embed code, Plane category]
26-Jan-2020 19:53 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
26-Jan-2020 19:53 Captain Adam Updated [Aircraft type, Damage, Narrative]
26-Jan-2020 19:58 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 19:59 harro Updated [Operator, Source]
26-Jan-2020 20:01 Iceman 29 Updated [Operator, Source, Embed code, Photo]
26-Jan-2020 20:01 Iceman 29 Updated [Photo]
26-Jan-2020 20:02 harro Updated [Operator, Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 20:06 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Damage]
26-Jan-2020 20:14 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 20:14 harro Updated [Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Embed code, Narrative, Photo]
26-Jan-2020 20:17 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 20:28 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 20:42 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 20:57 harro Updated [Nature, Embed code, Narrative]
26-Jan-2020 21:12 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 21:28 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
26-Jan-2020 23:40 Captain Adam Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Jan-2020 00:46 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Jan-2020 00:56 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Jan-2020 02:33 RobertMB Updated [Location, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Jan-2020 06:56 Xavier Corday Updated [Source]
27-Jan-2020 08:08 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Jan-2020 11:05 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Jan-2020 11:23 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Jan-2020 18:54 bovine Updated [Source]
28-Jan-2020 09:06 Obaid Updated [Destination airport]
29-Jan-2020 20:13 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code]
29-Jan-2020 20:18 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
30-Jan-2020 13:20 Xavier Corday Updated [Source]
31-Jan-2020 18:46 Anon. Updated [Photo]
08-Feb-2020 08:27 Anon. Updated [Source]
08-Feb-2020 08:33 harro Updated [Destination airport, Embed code, Narrative]
20-Apr-2020 15:07 Anon. Updated [Embed code]
31-Aug-2020 18:55 airplanecrazy Updated [Embed code]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description