Kobe helicopter tried to climb to avoid clouds before crash

Kobe Bryant
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant speaks to the media at a press conference before his #8 and #24 jerseys are retired by the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) — A federal investigator says the pilot of the helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, told air traffic controllers in his last message that he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer.

The helicopter hit a hillside Sunday after requesting special permission to fly through heavy fog.

Jennifer Homendy of the National Transportation Safety Board says Monday that radar spotted the craft at about 2,300 feet before began making a left descending turn.

NTSB investigators arrived on the scene Monday.