May 16, 2020
Pilot In Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Had No Drugs Or Alcohol In His System, Autopsy Finds

Kobe Bryant's death has officially been ruled an accident. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner released autopsy reports for the crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on January 26 of this year, People Magazine reported. The reports were released on Friday and come almost four months after the crash took place.

The helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan, was found to have no drugs or alcohol in his system, according to a toxicology report first obtained by TMZ. The pilot's body was tested for "benzodiazepines, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, marijuana, opioids, phencyclidine, and amphetamines."

"On Jan. 28, the cause of death for all nine decedents was certified as blunt trauma. The manner of death was certified as accident," the report states.

Bryant tested positive only for the prescription drug methylphenidate, which is more commonly known as Ritalin. It's designed to help those with attention deficit issues.

The Los Angeles County coroner had previously announced that the cause of death for all nine passengers was "blunt trauma" following an examination of the victims on January 28. At the time, the group was headed to Mamba Sports Academy's Thousand Oaks location.

In addition to Bryant and his daughter as well as Zobayan, the other victims of the accident were Payton Chester, 13; Sarah Chester, 46; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; and Christina Mauser, 38.

The autopsy report suggests that all nine died instantly and offers specific descriptions of the fractures each passenger suffered. Now that the report has been released, the investigation into the accident is officially considered "closed."

Following the news of Bryant's death, fans in Los Angeles and around the world paid tribute to the fallen basketball icon, who had spent most of his career as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. In February, there was a public memorial held in Bryant's memory at the Staples Center.

Even as the report finalizes the official investigation, there is still an open lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, suggesting that Island Express Helicopters is in part responsible for her husband's death, according to Page Six. The wrongful death suit was first filed in February and claims that Zobayan did not use "ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft."

The suit claims that Zobayan's negligent conduct makes the helicopter company directly responsible for Bryant's death, and should therefore be made to pay for the suffering his family is now facing in the wake of his loss. At the time of the crash, Zobayan was flying at 180 miles per hour through fog.