The pilot involved in the Southern California helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others, was previously disciplined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying in a reduced visibility area without authorization, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
According to FAA records, Ara Zobayan was reprimanded by an FAA investigator after he violated FAA rules by crossing into busy airspace near Los Angeles International Airport on May 11, 2015.
Zobayan was near the LAX airport and heading north when he asked the airport tower for permission to cross the airspace. When air traffic control denied the request and told him to stay clear of the area, the helicopter still entered the airspace, according to the record. Zobayan later reported the incident himself.
“There are no indications that this is a repeated incident and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan,” the report said.
Zobayan, 50, was still working with the same company at the time of the deadly crash last month.
On Jan. 26 Zobayan’s helicopter plunged at high speed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., north of Los Angeles. Though the crash remains under investigation, it has been speculated that low-visibility due to foggy weather may have contributed to the crash.
Earlier this month it was reported that although Zobayan was himself licensed to fly in low-visibility situations, he should have been restricted to fly in inclement weather because of the license status of the company, Island Express Helicopters, on the day the crash occurred.