ABC News suspends correspondent over inaccurate report on Kobe Bryant's death

The network's chief national reporter erroneously said all four of the retired basketball player's daughters were on the helicopter when it crashed.

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By Doha Madani

An ABC News correspondent was suspended Wednesday over inaccurate reporting on the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Matt Gutman, chief national correspondent for the network, erroneously reported that all four of Bryant's daughters were on the helicopter when it crashed Sunday, killing all nine people on board. Gutman later apologized on air for the mistake after it became apparent that only one of Bryant's children had been in the helicopter.

He was suspended Wednesday for the mistake, according to E! News.

"Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism," the network said in a statement to E! News. "As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman's initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards."

In a statement provided to E! News, Gutman again apologized to the Bryant family for "any additional anguish" his report caused.

"We are in the business of holding people accountable," he said. "And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret."

ABC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

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Bryant, 41, his daughter, the pilot and six other people were headed to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for a basketball tournament.

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Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, but a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said that the Sikorsky S-76B chopper was not equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, known as TAWS, which alerts a pilot when an aircraft gets too close to the ground, and that the Federal Aviation Administration has resisted requiring it for all such helicopters.

The system is one of many factors that will be looked into by investigators, who will also determine whether dense fog made weather conditions too dangerous to fly. Investigators will not have the assistance of a black box in determining the cause, as the aircraft was not required to have one.