Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Fog Likely a Factor in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash
EDM Monday Briefing: Fog Likely a Factor in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

EDM Monday Briefing: Fog Likely a Factor in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash


Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 27, 2019: Heavy fog may have played a part in a helicopter crash in California that killed nine people, including NBA superstar Kobe Bryant; eight people were injured when an Avianca flight suddenly lost altitude; heavy rainfall and landslides have killed at least 53 people in Brazil; the bodies of the three U.S. firefighters who died in an air crash in Australia have been recovered; Turkey was struck by a 6.8 magnitude quake that killed 39 people and injured another 1,600; officials believe that recent cyberattacks on European and Middle East government ministries and other organizations were state-backed hacking operations by Turkey; a small plane crash in Georgia killed two and closed a roadway for hours; and the CDC notes that the novel coronavirus is a serious public health threat, but the risk to the American general public is low.

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1) A helicopter crash in California claimed the lives of nine people on Sunday, including retired NBA player Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter. Weather conditions in the area were reported as extremely foggy when the Sikorsky S-76 departed Santa Ana in Orange County, circled for a bit, and then headed north along Interstate 5 and west on U.S. 101 before it crashed in rugged terrain in Calabasas. Local law enforcement is working in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to locate the victims and investigate the cause of the crash.

2) Eight people were injured during an Avianca flight traveling from Costa Rica to Colombia on Friday. The aircraft, an Airbus A319-100, was carrying 108 passengers and five crew members when the plane experienced a sudden drop in altitude of about 2,700 feet. The incident on Avianca Flight AV693 occurred over Panama, and the crew declared an emergency. The flight diverted to Panama City, where the plane was grounded and passengers were accommodated on other flights.

3) Heavy rainfall led to flooding and landslides in Brazil on Friday, where at least 53 people died and thousands more were displaced. Rainfall totals in Belo Horizonte were recorded at more than six inches from Thursday to Friday, while Minas Gerais, the town that saw the tailings dam collapse that killed at least 250 people last January, also received daily rainfall totals of over four inches. The majority of deaths have occurred in Minas Gerais, where an estimated 37 people died and another 25 are still missing.

4) The bodies of three U.S. firefighters killed in an air crash in Australia have been recovered. Investigators were able to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder and are now trying to determine why the C-130 firefighting air tanker crashed. The plane crashed just after the crew had dumped its load of fire retardant on a massive wildfire burning in a national park in the mountains outside Canberra.

5) A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Friday, causing damage in the Elazig Province and nearby Malatya. At least 39 people died in the quake, with another 1,600 people injured, including about 86 people who were still being treated in area hospitals. Forty-five people were rescued, and search and rescue teams continued searching on Sunday for two people who remained trapped under a collapsed building.

6) British and U.S. officials believe that recent cyberattacks affecting Europe and the Middle East can be linked to state-backed cyber espionage operations meant to advance Turkish interests. The cyberattacks affected more than 30 government ministries, embassies, security services and other companies, permitting hackers illicit access. The attacks effectively rerouted visitors from official sites to fake websites, where hackers were able to capture passwords and other information.

7) A small plane crash in Georgia on Friday killed two people and left a trail of debris that closed an area roadway for hours. Authorities investigating the crash said that all lanes of Georgia 16 westbound at Tinsley Way were closed for several hours due to debris. The airplane that crashed was identified as an experimental Mustang-II, which crashed in the woods about a half-mile from the Big-T Airport.

8) The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States now stands at five, a number that may rise as cases in other states are tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that although the virus is considered to be a serious public health threat, immediate risk to the U.S. general public is considered low. China continues to struggle to prevent the novel virus from spreading further, with officials extending the lockdown in Wuhan and expanding it to a total of 16 neighboring cities, affecting more than 50 million people.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.