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Kobe Bryant: Basketball legend dies in helicopter crash

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US basketball legend Kobe Bryant was among five people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.

Bryant, 41, was travelling in a private helicopter when it crashed and burst into flames, according to reports.

The five-time NBA champion was widely considered one of the greatest players in the game's history.

Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.

"Please no. Please god no. It can't be true," basketball player Kevin Love wrote on Twitter.

The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51256756

 

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In some ways, it’s surprising that private air travel remains so dangerous, especially 👀 as flying on a commercial ✈️ is now one of the safest things you can do — safer even than even walking. In 2013, an MIT statistics professor calculated that “flying [on a passenger ✈️] has become so reliable that a traveler could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before being in a fatal crash.” While in 2018, some 393 people were killed in civil aviation accidents across the United States, only one of those deaths was an airline passenger fatality. Worldwide, commercial airline fatalities actually fell 50 percent in 2019.

Context is important, of course: Helicopters, which are a favored transport of the uber-wealthy, tend to fly at lower altitudes than airplanes and thus increase the overall chance of crashing into hillsides and buildings when compared to jets. Still, helicopters are a relatively safe mode of transportation — except when it comes to personal and private flights, which “account for just 3 percent of flight hours but more than a quarter of fatal accidents,” NPR reports.

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The company that owns the helicopter that was carrying basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others when it crashed was not licensed to fly in foggy conditions, officials say.

Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating when the pilot was able to see clearly when flying.

The pilot reportedly had the federal certification to fly the helicopter relying only on cockpit instruments.

However he is likely to have had little experience in doing so, experts say.

This was due to him being restricted by the company's licensing.

The cause of the crash in foggy weather west of Los Angeles is still being investigated. Bryant was on his way to coach his daughter's basketball team in a local youth tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy.

Meanwhile, on Friday the Lakers played their first game since Bryant's death, going up against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center in LA.

The team paid tribute to Bryant by warming up wearing his numbers - 8 and 24 - while thousands of fans chanted, "Kobe, Kobe!"

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51332546

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