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Bryant Would Never Fly on Helicopter With Wife: Source

Newser — Rob Quinn

Kobe Bryant's three surviving children have lost their father—but insiders say the basketball superstar tried to make sure they would never be orphaned. Sources tell People that Bryant, who frequently used helicopters to get around, would not fly in one with wife Vanessa.

"He and Vanessa had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together," a source says. Byrant was killed along with daughter Gianna, 13, and seven other people when their helicopter crashed outside Los Angeles Sunday morning.

He was on his way to coach Gianna's youth basketball team in Thousand Oaks.

Bryant, 41, is survived by Vanessa, 37, and daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born in June last year.

People's source says the only helicopter pilot Bryant wanted to fly with was Ara Zobayan, who was killed in Sunday's crash. Zobayan received special clearance to fly in foggy conditions Sunday.

Fellow pilots tell the New York Times that Zobayan, 50, was "supersmart" and "supercautious" and they are baffled by the fact that pilot error could have caused the crash.

Pilot Kurt Deetz, who has flown Bryant in the past, says Zobayan would never have taken risks to please a high-profile passenger in a hurry. "The pilot is the final authority for safe operations of the aircraft," he says.

"Nobody wants to die."

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