Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and 8 others was 20 to 30 feet from clearing a hilltop when it crashed, investigators say - CNN - Canada News Media
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Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and 8 others was 20 to 30 feet from clearing a hilltop when it crashed, investigators say – CNN



As federal investigators wrapped up operations at the crash site, NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said preliminary information suggests the plane descended rapidly and was likely in one piece before it slammed into the hill.
“The descent rate for the helicopter was over 2,000 feet a minute, so we know that this was a high energy impact crash,” Homendy said. “This is a pretty steep descent at high speed. So it wouldn’t be a normal landing speed.”
NTSB investigators wrapped up recovery efforts at the crash site Tuesday
The crash occurred about 1,085 feet above sea level, missing the top of the hill by 20 to 30 feet, investigators said. Parts of the helicopter were found scattered around a crash site that stretched 500 to 600 feet, the NTSB said.

NTSB recommended a safety system

On Tuesday, NTSB turned over the accident site back to local authorities after recovering pieces of the wreckage, an iPad, cellphone and documents including maintenance records, the helicopter’s registration and the airworthiness certificate.
The helicopter did not have a terrain awareness and warning system — a safety feature which provides the pilot with information about the terrain, Homendy said.
The NTSB recommended that similar helicopters be equipped with the system after a fatal Texas crash in 2004 that killed 10 people. The Federal Aviation Administration failed to implement the recommendation, Homendy said.
NTSB's Carol Hogan examines wreckage NTSB's Carol Hogan examines wreckage
In his last communication with air traffic control, the helicopter’s pilot said he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer, the NTSB previously said. But when air traffic control asked him what he planned to do, there was no response.
Radar data indicated the helicopter climbed 2,300 feet and began a left descending turn, Homendy said.
That last contact was around 9:45 a.m. The first 911 call about the crash came in two minutes later, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Weather experts are studying that morning

That morning had been particularly foggy.
Visibility was so low Sunday morning that the Los Angeles Police Department had decided to ground its helicopters.
But comparing the police helicopters with the one Bryant was flying in — a Sikorsky S-76B — isn’t accurate, Homendy said.
“It’s an apples to oranges comparison. It’s a different helicopter, different operations, they have 4-person helicopters, this is outfitted for more than that,” she said. “We have to look at this specific crash, this specific helicopter.”
The S-76 line serves as offshore oil and gas transportation, air ambulances, executive transport and search-and-rescue aircraft. One aviation expert calls it a “workhorse.”
Homendy said a weather expert on staff is studying the weather that day and the decision-making behind flying Sunday.
Moments before the crash, air traffic control approved pilot Ara Zobayan’s request to fly with SVFR clearance — special visual flight rules clearance — which allows pilots to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for regular visual flight rules.
And while she said that clearance is very common and nothing out of the ordinary, Homendy said investigators will look into whether Zobayan should have been granted that special permission.

Families mourn mothers, daughters, siblings

Meanwhile, families are grieving the nine people who died Sunday — including 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
“The first day was brutal,” Matt Mauser, whose wife was killed, said. “I woke up this morning and I said, ‘I’m OK,’ and then I walked out and I started to cry. And then I saw my kids and I started to cry.”
Christina Mauser was an assistant girls basketball coach, former teacher and mother of three. Her youngest daughter is turning four years old next week. Mauser had been recruited by Bryant himself, her husband said, to help coach a team in his basketball academy.
Christina Mauser, killed in crash with Kobe Bryant, would have celebrated her daughter's 4th birthday next week Christina Mauser, killed in crash with Kobe Bryant, would have celebrated her daughter's 4th birthday next week
Three young girls on the helicopter — including Gianna — were on their way to a basketball game in Thousand Oaks.
One of them, Alyssa Altobelli, was flying with her parents, John and Keri.
Another, Payton Chester, was flying with her mother, Sarah Chester.
They all were killed in the crash.
“While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important … their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken,” Todd Schmidt, a former principal at the elementary school Payton once attended, wrote in a Facebook post.
Zobayan, who also died, had more than 8,200 hours of flight time, Homendy said, and had been working with Island Express Helicopters, which owned the Sikorsky S-76B.
The LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced all nine bodies had been recovered — four of which were officially identified through the use of fingerprints.

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Shanahan on 2017 draft: 'I didn't look into' Mahomes enough – theScore



The San Francisco 49ers held the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and wanted to add a quarterback, but opted to select defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

That year’s class, of course, featured Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. As Kyle Shanahan’s squad prepares to battle Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV, the head coach admitted he should have scouted the 2018 MVP more extensively.

“I didn’t look into (Mahomes) obviously as much as I should have (prior to the draft),” Shanahan told reporters Tuesday, according to NFL.com’s Nick Shook. “We definitely looked into him, studied all of his tape. Was just a freak, could make any throw. … We had the second pick in the draft. Did not feel, like from all the intel that you get and stuff, that he was gonna go that high.”

On draft day, San Francisco traded the No. 2 pick to the Bears (which Chicago used to draft Mitch Trubisky) and received the No. 3 selection as part of the return. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Mahomes 10th overall after trading up.

Shanahan added, “You saw a bunch of talented guys in that draft. It’s very tough when you watch college systems. … You can see ability, you can see talent, but how’s the mind? How do they play in the pocket? How do they process? That’s not just an IQ score. That’s some stuff I don’t think you can totally test. You gotta go through that with them, so there’s always a risk when you spend a first-round pick on a quarterback. With the situation we were in, (we) didn’t want to be that risky.”

Shanahan was entering his first season as San Francisco’s head coach and had targeted then-Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. The team slapped Cousins with the franchise tag in 2017 and he was widely rumored to be a trade candidate.

“It was a little different situation for us just ’cause I think it’s pretty well documented … the relationship I had with Kirk being in Washington and I felt very confident that he wasn’t gonna stay there,” Shanahan said. “So anytime you go into a season knowing that a franchise quarterback was going to be available the next year, it made me a lot more picky.”

After failing to acquire Cousins, the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo and found themselves NFC champions two campaigns later. Garoppolo and Mahomes will face off Sunday for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

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Ex-NHL star goalie Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky hotel on mischief, alcohol charges – The Globe and Mail



Hall of Fame goaltender Ed Belfour was arrested for criminal mischief and alcohol intoxication in a public place on Jan. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Former NHL star goaltender Ed Belfour has been arrested for criminal mischief and alcohol intoxication in a public place after an incident in a hotel early Tuesday morning.

Bowling Green Police arrested the 54-year-old native of Carman, Man., at the Kentucky Grand Hotel and Spa.

Belfour was booked into Warren County Regional Jail and then released later Tuesday morning.

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The arrest report says Belfour was lying on the floor clutching a curtain rod that had been ripped out of the dry wall above a window when police approached him.

The report adds that Belfour was kicking a door to the locked spa in an attempt to get in. It says he had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and could barely stand up.

The police say Belfour was not being compliant when officers tried to put handcuffs on him.

Belfour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011. He played 963 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers from 1988 to 2007.

Belfour won the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie in 1991 and 1993 while with Chicago. He won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.

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'Not now. Then when?': Kobe Bryant's death prompts battle over focus on star's rape charge – CBC.ca



For author and attorney Mark Shaw, there’s one memory of Kobe Bryant seared into his brain — that of a young basketball star seated in a Colorado courtroom with what he perceived as a flippant attitude to the charge of sexual assault against him.

“Here was Kobe with an arrogant look on his face,” said Shaw, who covered the case for ESPN in 2004.

“It bothered me and it bothered all of the other reporters. He wasn’t taking this seriously at all. I don’t know if he was in denial or whatever, but he just didn’t take it seriously.”

Shaw, who is convinced of Bryant’s guilt, said he is particularly bothered by the coverage of Bryant’s death, that not enough emphasis has been placed on this part of the athlete’s life.

The tragic death of Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash Sunday, has sparked an outpouring of grief and tributes for the basketball great who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles during his 20-year career. But others have been quick to note that Bryant’s legacy is also marked by an allegation of sexual assault. And that, in turn, has sparked a backlash from some fans angered that the allegations were revisited so soon after his death.

“When someone passes away, certainly you want to highlight what they did well in life. And apparently he did kind of turn his life around from that point and became a great father, and the things that he’s done and all of that, that’s great,” said Shaw.

But you just need to tell both sides of the story. A lot of times people just don’t want to really know the truth. They would rather discard that and only look at the positives that were involved with somebody’s life.”

Bryant at the Eagle County Justice Center in 2004 for pretrial motions in connection with the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman. (Ed Andrieski/The Associated Press)

Indeed, a Washington Post reporter faced considerable social media backlash and death threats after she tweeted a link to an old article about the sexual assault allegation against Bryant shortly after he was killed. (Felicia Sonmez was suspended by the paper, which then seemed to back off on Tuesday.)

Jill Filipovic, lawyer and author of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness, said it’s possible to “grieve a life lost and also address that life honestly.”

“To everyone yelling NOT NOW: Then when? When are we supposed to grapple with, and tell the whole truth about, the lives of people many admire?” she tweeted Sunday.

In a blog posted titled Kobe Bryant and Complicated Legacies, Filipovic wrote that all of his success in sports is “key to Kobe’s story” but also “is not the whole story.”

“Out of some mislaid definition of ‘respect,’ we are so excellent at sidelining the inconvenient parts, at least when the inconvenient parts are women we’ve made invisible and the one inconvenienced is a man we would prefer to keep admiring, without complication,” she wrote.

Bryant with his daughter Gianna at the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game. Gianna was also killed in the helicopter crash Sunday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In 2003, Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old employee at a Colorado resort. He had said the two had consensual sex. Prosecutors later dropped the felony sexual assault charge at the request of the accuser, in exchange for a public apology. Bryant also settled a civil suit against him by the accuser for an undisclosed amount of money.

While some endorsements dried up, including McDonald’s, other major companies like Nike stuck by Bryant. He was largely able to put the allegations behind him, going on to have one of the most successful careers in the NBA, eventually retiring in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in the league’s history. 

However, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, those allegations resurfaced. In March 2018, after he won an Oscar for the short animated film Dear Basketball, based on a poem he wrote, some criticized the Academy for its selection. And in Oct. 2018, he was ousted from the jury of an animated film festival after an online petition was circulated demanding he be dropped.

Shaw said in recounting Bryant’s legacy, it’s fine to talk about how Bryant seemed to change his ways following the alleged attack.

I think you can do it in a way where you say despite him being charged with sexual assault … Kobe Bryant had become a changed man. I think you can put a positive spin on this — but it does need to include this incident that happened back then.”

Globe and Mail investigative reporter Robyn Doolittle, whose recent book Had it Coming: What’s Fair in the Age of #MeToo? includes a chapter about the Bryant case, said it’s important to remember someone like Bryant as a whole person. 

“He can be a basketball legend, and it means so much to so many people, and he can also be an amazing father, by all accounts. He can also be someone who faced very credible sexual assault or rape allegations,” she said.

“I don’t necessarily think that people should hate Kobe Bryant. My book is all about ‘It’s not black or white. The hot take isn’t necessarily the most productive one.'”

His death, the outpouring of grief, and what some might say is an effort by fans to ignore the most controversial chapter of his life is illustrative of the intense relationship many have with their celebrity idols, said Bradley Bond, a University of San Diego associate professor in communication studies.

Bond studies the psychological concept known as parasocial relationship: the way people develop very strong social and emotional ties to fictional characters and celebrities.

The nature of entertainment media is to continually disclose information about these people, and the public feels like they get to know them over the course of time, he said.

“So it makes sense that when one of those perceived relationships dissolves that we experience grief in a similar way.”

Eric Mascarenhas comforts his son Nicolas at a memorial for Bryant near the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/The Associated Press)

And when a celebrity does something that conflicts with one’s own moral code, it either negatively influences the relationship or fans find a way to close that cognitive dissonance with some type of excuse, Bond said.

I think the easiest case with something like Kobe’s complicated background is to simply not believe the accuser.”

As well, fans may also be able to separate an actor or athlete’s personal life with their performance.

“You can still admire that primary attribute even if secondary attributes might conflict with what you see as an admirable person. I think you can separate Kobe the athlete from Kobe the individual.”

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