Kobe Bryant's Helicopter May Have Been Previously Flown By Lorenzo Lamas, Soap Star's Chopper Had Same Number

Jonathan Vankin

The Sikorsky S-76B luxury helicopter that crashed Sunday killing former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant appears to have been previously flown by reality TV and soap opera personality Lorenzo Lamas — a former star of The Bold and the Beautiful — as recently as September. In addition, the pilot of the downed chopper, Ara George Zobayan, appeared with Lamas on an episode of the reality program Celebrity Wife Swap.

The helicopter with registration number N72EX crashed in heavy fog on January 26, in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, California, killing Bryant, 41, and all eight others on board, including Zobayan and Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, the chopper was set to land at Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank, California, but was forced to circle for at least 15 minutes in a holding pattern by air traffic controllers as they attempted to land other aircraft in the foggy conditions.

On September 19, Lamas posted a photo on his Twitter account of a helicopter with the N72EX registration number clearly visible. That photo can be seen below on this page.

In 2014, according to a HuffPost report, Lamas largely stepped back from Hollywood to begin a full-time career as a helicopter pilot.

"I'm working on my aviation career so that I don't have to think about working as an actor," Lamas, 61, said at the time, as quoted by HuffPost, adding that he felt he was "in control of things" in his aviation career but not in his career as TV actor.

But on Monday morning, Lamas retweeted a post from Daily Word Magazine, with the comment, "Protected — I am safe and secure in the presence of God."

The possible connection between the downed helicopter carrying Bryant and the chopper that appears to have been flown earlier by Lamas was first noted by The Daily Beast's Tarpley Hitt.

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According to Hitt's report, the crashed helicopter was built in 1991, and since at least 2012 has been licensed to Island Express Holding Corp., a Burbank-based transportation company. The luxury chopper is marketed by its manufacturer as an "executive helicopter" designed for use by corporate execs, heads of state, and others "who have reached the pinnacle of success," according to marketing materials cited in Hitt's report.

The materials from Lockheed-Martin, maker of the Sikorsky helicopter, also claim that the chopper provides "safe, reliable flight in all weather situations," as quoted by The Daily Beast report.

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