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Kylie Jenner Remembers the Pilot Who Died in Kobe Bryant’s Crash After Flying With Him in the Past: ‘He Was Such a Nice Man’

Kylie Jenner Honors Helicopter Pilot Who Died Kobe Bryant Crash
Kylie Jenner and Kobe Bryant.Shutterstock; Joe Russo/Shutterstock

Heartbroken. Kylie Jenner mourned the death of the helicopter pilot who died alongside Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and six others in a fatal crash on Sunday, January 26.

Related: Everything We Know About Kobe Bryant's Fatal Helicopter Crash

CBS News confirmed the pilot’s identity on Monday, January 27, along with the remaining crash victims. Ara Zobayan earned his commercial pilot’s license in 2007 and was qualified to fly in extreme weather conditions. Jenner, 22, revealed via her Instagram Story the same day that she had flown with the pilot several times in the past.

Kylie Jenner Honors Helicopter Pilot Who Died Kobe Bryant Crash
Kylie Jenner and Kobe Bryant. Shutterstock; Joe Russo/Shutterstock

“Rest in peace … and prayers to these families,” the makeup mogul captioned a picture showing each of the victims’ faces. “I still can’t believe this. That was the helicopter I would fly on from time to time with that pilot, Ara. He was such a nice man. Hold your loved ones close.”

Related: Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths of All Time

Kylie Jenner Honors Helicopter Pilot Who Died Kobe Bryant Crash
Helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan. Courtesy Ara Zobayan/Facebook

The chopper involved in the crash was a Sikorsky S-76B model that had never experienced any prior accidents or safety issues, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. After hearing reports of the crash, the manufacturing company sent their “sincerest condolences” to the families of those who were killed and noted on Twitter that they were willing to cooperate with any further investigations into the crash.

Jenner was a frequent flier with Zobayan, even taking her niece, Dream, on a helicopter ride for her 3rd birthday in November 2019.

“Took Dream on her first helicopter ride,” the Life of Kylie star wrote over a photo of the birthday girl smiling in front of the helicopter on her Instagram Story at the time. “Happy birthday baby girl … you are a gift.”

Rob Kardashian, who shares Dream with his ex Blac Chyna, also shared a sweet snapshot of his daughter’s birthday festivities. The toddler stood in front of the chopper holding a huge vanilla cupcake in Kardashian’s Instagram post captioned, “Happy Birthday Dream.”

Related: 5 Things to Know About Kobe Bryant's Daughter Gianna

Though the helicopter in question had a previously strong safety record, the foggy conditions on Sunday could have contributed to the unexpected accident. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division told the Los Angeles Times, “The weather situation did not meet our minimum standards for flying. [The fog] was enough that we were not flying.”

Despite the frightening conditions, Zobayan’s aircraft had been approved for flight before the group took off from John Wayne Airport.

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