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911 calls from moments after Kobe Bryant helicopter crash released

One caller reported hearing a helicopter sweep overhead in thick clouds, "and then I heard a pop, and it immediately stopped."
/ Source: TODAY

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has released 911 calls made after the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed in Calabasas, California, last month, killing all nine people aboard.

“I could hear this plane, as if it was in the clouds but couldn’t see it, then we just heard a boom and a dead sound, and then I could see the flames,” one caller, who said he was hiking on a nearby trail, told an operator, according to audio obtained by NBC News.

“Whatever crashed into the hill is also on fire,” he added. “I think it was an airplane. A small plane.”

In another call, a man said he was at a grocery story about a quarter of a mile away when he heard the helicopter go down.

“A helicopter crashed into a mountain, we heard it, and now I’m looking at the flames,” he said.

“We’re looking at the flames right now on the hills,” he added.

Another man who called said cloud cover prevented him from knowing exactly what happened.

“I just heard a helicopter go over me, approximately from Lost Hills Road on a south to easterly sweep. It went over my head, it’s thick in clouds, and then I heard a pop, and it immediately stopped. I can’t see it,” he said.

The NBA legend, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven other people were flying in a Sikorsky S-76B chopper in dense fog when it went down around 40 minutes after taking off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting an investigation, has yet to provide a reason for what caused the crash, reports NBC Los Angeles affiliate KNBC. The station also reported the remains of all nine victims have been released to their families.

Jennifer Homendy, a board member with the NTSB, said last week during a press conference that the chopper fell over 2,000 feet per minute before it crashed, adding it was "a high-energy-impact crash.”

The passengers were reportedly heading to Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball tournament.