PHOENIX - Investigators in Arizona are trying to figure out what caused a helicopter to crash in Southern California killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other people.
The investigation has moved to Phoenix to a salvage yard near 31st avenue and Buckeye that houses damaged aircraft.
The helicopter involved in the crash is in Phoenix so investigators can study the wreckage as the months-long project for the NTSB gets underway.
“They're going to try to re-assemble that helicopter part by part and when they do that they're going to see if they can identify any damaged parts, anything that might have been damaged or mechanically not functioning properly before the accident to eliminate that there was a mechanical issue associated with the crash,” said Jerry Kidrick with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.
So why does the NTSB need to bring the wreckage 400 miles down Interstate 10 to do that?
“It's possible that because this is so high profile any place they could've put that wreckage in California would've been a media magnet, and people would've gone there and left flowers or whatever .. potentially moving it away is like moving a venue in trial,” said Kidrick.
The NTSB will release more information about the crash in the coming days and weeks.
At this point, investigators know the helicopter did not have black box voice recorders and did not have a terrain alert warning system.
“Certainly TAWS could’ve helped provide information to the pilot on what terrain the pilot was flying in,” said Jennifer Homendy with the NTSB.
The NTSB hasn’t ruled out any potential cause for the crash just yet, but flight data indicates the chopper dropped 350 feet in just six seconds, making a quick left turn, and accelerating, slamming into the hillside at 176 miles an hour.
The question now, did the pilot become disoriented in the clouds, or was there a mechanical problem?
Investigators may also move the chopper from the salvage yard in Phoenix to a hanger or larger space before they can start reconstruction.