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FAA forced to close airspace of helicopter crash due to drones

The FAA was forced to close the airspace above what we now understand is the crash site of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter, due to aircraft and drones seen in the area. The FAA closed the airspace at 10:15 pm UTC on January 26th and the restriction will remain in place until January 31st at 2:14 pm UTC.

FAA forced to close airspace of helicopter crash due to drones

The FAA issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) late Sunday night after multiple aircraft and drones were spotted within the vicinity of a helicopter crash.

The NOTAM created an exclusion zone of five nautical miles around and up to 5,000 feet above the crash site. A spokesperson from the FAA told Business Insider that there were a large amount of aircraft and drones operating around the accident site.

“(A) significant number of aircraft, including drones, operating over the accident site.”

crash site

Exclusion zone set up by the FAA

This was required due to the high profile passenger of the helicopter which was Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and nine other passengers. Emergency services, law enforcement, and news helicopters were also on scene as reports of the crash came in which meant closing the airspace to third parties was required “to provide a safe environment for accident investigation.”

We are currently unaware of the number of drones seen flying in the area or the specific reasons they were flying. It’s likely when the word first spread, people around the area took to the skies with their drones to see if the news was, in fact, real and to possibly get footage of the site.

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Photo: Richard Vogel



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.