STEFANIE DAZIO, DAVID KOENIG and BERNARD CONDON
CALABASAS (AP) — The pilot of the helicopter that crashed near Los Angeles, killing former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others, told air traffic controllers in his last radio message that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer before plunging more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) into a hillside, an accident investigator said.
Radar indicated the helicopter reached a height of 2,300 feet (701 meters) Sunday morning before descending, and the wreckage was found at 1,085 feet (331 meters), Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board said during a news conference Monday afternoon.
NTSB investigators went to the crash site in Calabasas on Monday to collect evidence.
"The debris field is pretty extensiv