Multiple Calabasas locals tell PEOPLE there was unusually thick fog and hardly any visibility in the area at the time of the crash
Scott Daehlin, who was the first to contact the authorities about the crash, was on his way to his van to grab a pair of headphones before a musical rehearsal at a local church, when he heard the helicopter, seemingly directly over his head.
“It was right at 9:41 a.m.,” Daehlin, 61, tells PEOPLE, noting that the cloud deck “was much lower” than normal.
“Probably the cloud base was about 300 feet,” he says, clarifying how that was extremely low. “I think another local resident who lived here 17 years in these condos said he’d never seen the fog and low clouds this thick.”
At the time, Daehlin says he “didn’t hear any anomalies with the engine.”
“It seemed to be running fine,” he says, noting that it seemed like the pilot, who was driving at a slow speed, was “trying to spot a landing.”
“It sounded as though he was directly above me,” he adds, noting that he still “couldn’t see” the helicopter, nor did he notice “any disturbances in the clouds.”
However, within 15-20 seconds, everything changed.
“All of a sudden I hear impact, crash, breaking fiberglass, plexiglass,” Daehlin tells PEOPLE adding that the helicopter rotors “immediately stopped” spinning.
“It was over in a quarter second. Just went quiet,” he adds.
Daehlin adds that as he didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary with the engine, he believes the problem came down to “visibility.”
Another Calabasas resident, who lives about a quarter-mile from where the crash occurred also tells PEOPLE the visibility was very poor that morning “because it was so foggy.”
“I was sitting on my couch when I heard it go over our roof. I thought to myself, ‘Wow they’re flying really low today.’ It must’ve been about 100 feet above our roof by the way the house was shaking. I couldn’t imagine why a helicopter was flying so low – although we have a lot of police choppers coming over because the sheriff’s headquarters is up the road a bit,” Matt Graham tells PEOPLE.
“About five minutes later I heard there was a report of a plane that went down, then I started hearing sirens. Moments later reports that it was a helicopter started coming out. It was just so foggy out. I’ve never seen anything like it. If anyone says that they actually saw it (the crash), they’re lying. Nobody could see anything because it was so foggy,” he adds.
Multiple locals also tell PEOPLE that the fog bank, which finally started lifting at 11:30 a.m. was thicker than they could ever remember seeing, with absolutely no visibility farther than a hundred feet.
Hours after the crash on Sunday, a press conference was held to address the tragedy that claimed the life of Bryant, 41, as well as his daughter Gianna, 13.
Emergency personnel responded but none of the nine people on board, which included the pilot and eight others, survived, a spokesperson for the LA County Sheriff’s Office said during a press conference.
“All survivors were determined to have been perished,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said.
The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed the aircraft was a Sikorsky S-76.