Kobe Bryant

Jesse White Recounts Flying on Helicopter That Crashed, Killing Kobe Bryant

The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter was built in 1991, and owned by the state of Illinois from 2007 to 2015

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Monday recounted flying on the helicopter that crashed, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others.

The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter was built in 1991, and owned by the state of Illinois from 2007 to 2015 before being sold at auction, officials confirmed.

At the time of Sunday's fatal crash, the aircraft was registered to Island Express Holding Corp of Van Nuys, California, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Outside of Chicago's United Center Monday, where a tribute has been set up in Bryant's honor, White told NBC 5 that he often flew in the helicopter on trips to and from Springfield.

Chicago's United Center has been lit up with purple and gold lights to honor the Lakers star following his unexpected death. NBC 5's Lisa Chavarria reports on the other ways Chicagoans are remembering Bryant.

White, who served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army and flew in several aircraft during his time in the military, said he felt comfortable flying in the helicopter.

"I would not have thought that anyone would have lost their life flying in it," he said.

While the cause of the tragedy remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, experts have raised questions of whether the helicopter should have even been flying. White echoed those concerns.

"Sometimes, because the fact you have to get to an event, you take a chance," he said. "That was not the right thing to do."

As news continues to develop about the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and how weather conditions may have played a role, NBC Sky 5 reporter Mike Lorber discusses why fog and low clouds prevent helicopters from flying.

The weather was so foggy that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department had grounded their own choppers.

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