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Helicopter company in Kobe Bryant crash didn’t have certificate to fly in fog

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The company whose helicopter crashed and killed basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others on Sunday was not certified to fly in foggy conditions requiring pilots to use only cockpit instruments, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Island Express Helicopters, which owned the Sikorsky S-76B that crashed, was limited to operating under visual flight rules, meaning pilots must be able to see clearly outside the aircraft in daylight, said Keith Holloway, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman.

“The preliminary information is Island Express’s 135 certificate did not allow for IFR flight,” Holloway said. “No other specifics are available at this time.”

The aircraft was equipped for instrument flying, however, multiple media reports said.

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“There is only one way you can be in the clouds, on an I.F.R. flight plan or by accident,” Kurt Deetz, a pilot and former safety manager with the company, told the New York Times, referring to instrument flight rules.

 

Holloway told Reuters on Friday that it was unknown if the pilot was in fact flying on instruments at the time of the wreck. He said a preliminary report on the crash, expected in about 10 days, may include such a determination, Holloway said.

The helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, was licensed for instrument flying, but likely had little experience in doing so given the company’s operating limitations, Deetz told Forbes separately.

The twin-engine helicopter slammed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, with clouds and fog limiting visibility.

Air traffic controllers had given Zobayan “special visual flight rules,” or clearance to fly in the less-than-optimal weather around the Burbank airport.

The pilot had reported that conditions were sufficient for visual flight, the Times said, adding that the weather appeared to have worsened as the flight continued.

In a separate statement, Island Express said it was suspending all services.

“The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers,” the charter company said.

The death of Bryant, 41, an 18-time NBA all-star and one of the most admired athletes around the globe, sent shockwaves through the sports and entertainment worlds.

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Marner extends point streak to 16 games, Maple Leafs beat Penguins – Sportsnet.ca

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Pesce’s first goal of the season lifts Hurricanes past Flames – Sportsnet.ca

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Croatian coach feels disrespected by Canadian coach's comment at FIFA World Cup – Toronto Sun

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DOHA, Qatar — Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said he felt disrespected by Canada head coach John Herdman for his comment in a group huddle following a loss to Belgium on Wednesday.

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After the emotional 1-0 loss at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Herdman gathered his troops on the field and gave an impassioned speech.

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When asked following the game what he told his team, Herdman admitted he told his group to ‘F’ Croatia, in reference to Canada’s second game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

On the eve of the game Sunday (11 a.m. ET) at the Khalifa International Stadium, Croatian coach Zlatko Zlatko Dalic was again asked about the comment at the pre-match press conference here on Saturday.

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“Canadians must have respect for us and this way of putting words together is not a sign of respect,” Dalic said through an interpreter. “We are the runners up (2018 World Cup), it wasn’t Brazil or Spain or any other country. We are the runners up, we were second in the world, we are worth of respect the way we played, the way we behave, the way we respect all others, is the reason we are worthy or respect.

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“I shall not focus or comment on other people’s comment. We will be prepared, be fit and we will demonstrate respect from Canada and from everyone else. We expect respect just as we exercise this view.”

Croatia was a surprising World Cup finalist four years ago in Russia, beating England in the semifinal before losing to France. Along the way, Croatia also beat Argentina in the group stage.

Croatia was held to a scoreless draw in its opening match by Morocco on Wednesday. Croatia concluded the group stage against Belgium on Thursday.

“The Croatia team deserves respect from everyone; we have proven that by the way we’ve played with our conduct at the World Cup; since the very beginning we’ve deserved respect and dignity,” Dalic said. “We have two (World Cup) medals in the last 30 years and we’re up there with Germany and France and countries like that have such an achievement. We respect everyone equally so we expect our opposing teams to respect us. We are worth of their respect.”

Croatia striker Ivan Perisic was also asked for his thoughts on Herdman’s comments.

“I second the head coach,” he said. “And I cannot wait for the match to begin.”

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