Kobe Bryant‘s tragic death in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, shocked fans around the world. But he’s not the only celebrity to perish in a flight accident.
JFK Jr., singers Buddy Holly, John Denver, Troy Gentry, and Aaliyah, and such athletes as baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, golfer Payne Stewart, and NASCAR driver Davey Allison have died in tragic plane or helicopter accidents through the years.
Bryant, 41, was among nine people, including his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Maria, 13, to die in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Foggy weather conditions apparently caused the helicopter’s pilot, pilot, Ara Zobayana, to smash into a hillside.
It burst into flames and started a brush fire in the Calabasas mountains.
NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said in a press conference that it was a “high energy impact crash.”
“The descent rate was over 2000 feet a minute….They missed clearing the mountain by 20 or 30 feet,” she explained.
Homendy revealed the shocking details of the final moments for the Lakers legend and the eight other people on the helicopter: “Descent to impact was probably about a minute.”
While many stars who died in flights were passengers like Bryant, “Rocky Mountain High” singer John Denver was his own pilot when he plowed his private plane into California’s Monterey Bay in 1997.
Denver, who died alone, was just 53 and his experimental plane reportedly had been short on fuel.
John F. Kennedy Jr., with his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren as passengers, also ran into trouble while piloting his own private plane. All three died in July 1999 when the late President’s son apparently became disoriented in the fog over Martha’s Vineyard. He was just 38.
Like Bryant, Gentry, 50, died in a highly unusual helicopter accident.
Half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, the singer and his pilot went down in a copter in 2017.
The craft crashed near the runway of the Flying W Airport & Resort, a small airport and entertainment area.
Eddie Mongtomery, the other half of the duo, was at the airport waiting for Gentry to arrive when the accident occurred.
While beloved Lakers legend Bryant’s flight death is the most shocking in years, he’s not the first celebrity to die that way and sadly, won’t be the last.
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