NTSB combs hillside for evidence in helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, 8 others

National Transportation Safety Board investigators criticized the Federal Aviation Administration as the NTSB finished collecting evidence Tuesday at the fatal helicopter crash site, where nine victims including NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, were killed Sunday. 

The remains of all victims were recovered according to the Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Evidence and debris bundled in white bags were carefully airlifted from the crash site in Calabasas.

"We were able to recover an iPad and cell phone," said NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Homendy.

Homendy criticized the FAA for not mandating safety equipment that the NTSB had previously recommended. 

"In 2004, the NTSB investigated a crash involving an S-76 A in Galveston TX which killed 10 people," said Homendy, "We issued a recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration that stated require all existing U.S. and new regsitered turbine powered rotorcraft certificated with 6 or more passenger seats to be equipped with the Terrain Awareness and Warning System. They did not implement the recommendation."

Homendy said the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant did not have a Terrain Awareness and Warning System or TAWS.

"Certainly TAWS could have helped to provide information to the pilot on what terrain the pilot was flying in," said Homendy.

She added the helicopter also did not have any CVR, cockpit voice recorder, or FDR, flight data recorder on board because the FAA does not mandate it, despite recommendations by the NTSB. 

"Those recommendations on the helicopter having a CVR and FDR that would have helped us significantly in this investigation and other investigations," said Homendy.

The NTSB also released video with a close up look at the wreckage, which was strewn across a debris field of 500-600 feet. Preliminary evidence indicates the Sikorsky 76-B helicopter had a high-speed descent, at a speed of 2,000 feet a minute, and failed to clear the hillside by 20-30 feet.

'We know this was a high engery impact," said Homendy, "The helicopter was in a descending left bank."

The NTSB also flew a drone along part of the flight path and visually mapped the wreckage. The online website Flightradar24.com tracked the helicopter's course from John Wayne Airport north to Burbank Airport where it circled before turning northwest toward Thousand Oaks.

"The pilot had 1,250 hours of flight time on the S-76 helicopter. He's also been with the company for 10 years," said Homendy speaking of the pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash. 

"I can tell you, you couldn't have asked for a better person to be piloting that helicopter than him," said Gary Johnson a friend of Zobayan, who added that Zobayan was a pilot's pilot and he would have trusted Zobayan with his own life. 

There was a continued outpouring of grief worldwide, as people mourned for NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other victims.

A mural in the Philippines, showed Kobe hugging his daughter.

In St. Louis there was a candlelight vigil. 

Los Angeles international airport was lit in Lakers' jersey colors of purple and gold.

The shock and loss were also felt Tuesday in Costa Mesa, where another victim, coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, were remembered with a moment of silence.

"He was an amazing man, and amazing coach," said Jason Kehler, the Orange Coast College Athletic Director.

The NTSB says it will issue a preliminary report in 10 days and hopes to complete its final report within 18 months with safety recommendations.