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Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and 8 others was 20 to 30 feet from clearing a hilltop

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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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Palestinian flag waved on pitch as Morocco celebrates historic World Cup win

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Several players of Morocco’s national team unfurled a Palestinian flag on the pitch while celebrating their historic World Cup win over Spain in Qatar on Tuesday.

World Cup quarterfinals: Qualifying teams, fixtures and schedule

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Following a dramatic penalty shootout, Morocco became the first Arab side to make it to the World Cup quarterfinals.

This is the second time Moroccan players have raised the Palestinian flag after winning a match. Morocco’s player Jawad El Yamiq raised the Palestinian flag while celebrating his country’s 2-1 victory over Canada last week.

Moroccan football fans were also seen waving a “Free Palestine” banner during the North African country’s 2-0 victory over Belgium in Group E earlier in the tournament.

Morocco's team makes a group photo on the pitch, holding the Palestinian flag after beating Spain.

Regulations from FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, prohibit the use of banners, flags and fliers that are deemed to be political, offensive and/or discriminatory in nature.

“The promotion or announcement of political or religious messages or any other political or religious actions, inside or in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, by any means, is strictly prohibited before, during and after matches,” FIFA regulations state.

Israeli journalists experience chilly reception at Qatar World Cup

 

Football authorities have occasionally issued fines for displays of the Palestinian flag inside grounds.

The flag bearing move was hailed by Arabs on social media, as users from Libya, Morroco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia celebrated the Moroccan win.

Videos on social media also show Palestinians celebrating Morocco’s win in the streets of several cities in the West Bank and in Gaza.

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With CBT 'not an obstacle,' Blue Jays can avoid Judge drama with Guerrero and Bichette – Sportsnet.ca

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Matt Murray Mitch Marner Toronto Maple Leafs Dallas Stars

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DALLAS (AP) — Matt Murray made a season-high 44 saves and Mitch Marner extended his Toronto-record point streak to 20 games with an early assist as the Maple Leafs beat the Dallas Stars 4-0 on Tuesday night.

John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Rasmus Sandin and Alexander Kerfoot scored for the surging Maple Leafs, who are 9-0-3 in their last 12 games. They pulled within three points of first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.

Dallas went 0 for 7 on the power play despite 17 shots on goal, including a four-minute double minor and a 5-on-3 for 1:38.

Toronto blocked 27 shots in its first shutout this season, and the Stars missed the net on 22 attempts.

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“Big thanks to the guys in front who did a heck of a job defensively tonight against a really dangerous team,” said Murray, who was acquired from Ottawa last summer and shares time in net with fellow newcomer Ilya Samsonov.

Murray is 6-0-2 since missing 15 games with an adductor injury following his initial start of the season.

“He was perfect,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Came up with huge saves in big moments. Obviously, the number of penalties we took today could have been a big problem.”

The Stars were shut out for the first time this season and are tied with Winnipeg atop the Central Division with 33 points. The Jets have two games in hand.

Jake Oettinger stopped 25 shots.

It was the NHL’s first game featuring two players with point streaks of at least 18 games.

The Stars’ Jason Robertson saw his run end at 18, a Dallas record. Robertson leads the NHL with 23 goals.

Marner got an assist when his wrist shot was stopped but Tavares tapped in the rebound 4:51 in for the first of two first-period Toronto goals.

“Like I’ve been saying, it’s not a one-man effort,” Marner said. “Just trying to go out there and buzz.”

Matthews took possession after his wrist shot was stopped and circled back into the slot to score at 17:36.

Sandin collected a loose puck just outside the crease and scored at 12:19 of the second period for a 3-0 lead.

Kerfoot added an empty-net goal with 3:53 remaining, rolling the puck in from center ice. It was his first goal since a 3-2 overtime win at home over the Stars on Oct. 20.

Toronto played most of the game with only five defensemen. Victor Mete left with a lower-body injury after playing just 3:04 of the first period. Mete is expected to miss at least a few games.

During part of Dallas’ 5-on-3 late in the second, the Maple Leafs were further handcuffed when Marner had to give up a broken stick. He still managed to block a shot.

Maple Leafs forward Semyon Der-Arguchintsev made his NHL debut, playing 7:16.

FAMILY AFFAIR

It was the second and final scheduled meeting this season matching Robertson against his younger brother, Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson.

Their mother, Mercedes, traveled from Michigan to attend the game. She followed her custom in these brotherly matchups by wearing the home team’s sweater and the visitors’ cap.

Nick Robertson scored his only two goals of the season to date in the teams’ previous meeting — including the overtime winner.

“He wasn’t too happy about that,” Nick said of his brother when they visited after that game.

POWER OUTAGE

Dallas is 0 for 11 on the power play in its past two games after ranking second in the NHL at 30% going into Sunday’s game, a 6-5 shootout loss to Minnesota.

“We had some great looks,” captain Jamie Benn said of Tuesday’s effort. “We’ve got to find a way.”

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Stars: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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