The helicopter that crashed outside of Los Angeles Sunday, killing all nine people on board, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, climbed roughly 400 feet in a matter of seconds before it stopped transmitting data, according to flight track information for the aircraft.
Data from FlightAware showed the chopper had not reached 1,000 feet for nearly 30 minutes in the air. It then fluctuated between 1,000 feet and 1,400 feet just minutes before it rapidly jumped from 1,200 feet to 1,600 feet in 16 seconds.
The data sheds new light on the final moments of the flight as family and fans of those who perished wonder what went wrong.
The helicopter had previously flown the day before, round-trip from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to Camarillo and back again. It made a couple of trips on Friday, including a trip to Catalina, though there is no record of the return flight.
The flight track for Sunday's flight, based on the helicopter’s transponder information, shows it departed Santa Ana/John Wayne Airport at 9:08 a.m. About 37 minutes later, at 9:45 a.m., it stopped transmitting.
During the en-route period, the helicopter stayed low, not reaching 1,000 feet until it had been in the air for nearly half an hour, according to FlightAware. This, by itself, may not be unusual, especially for a helicopter, but it also may be related to limited visibility.
The helicopter appears to have been operating under "Special Visual Flight Rules," which is clearance given for aircraft to fly in weather conditions that are not ideal, NBC News reports.
Foggy conditions at the time were such that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff's department grounded their helicopters.
The helicopter climbed to about 1,475 feet roughly six minutes before the data stopped. It then came back down in the range of 1,000 to 1,200 feet. And then, about 30 seconds before loss of data, it experienced a rapid climb, from 1,200 feet to 1,600 feet in just 16 seconds. This happened at an accelerated rate, about 750 feet per minute, then 1,406 feet per minute.
Data website Flightradar24 shows when the helicopter struck the ground, it was descending at a rate of more than 4,000 feet per minute.
According to the Associated Press, a ruling on the cause of the crash could take a year or more.