In modern times, engineering allows humans to do everything: Drive in fast cars or trains, diving into the deep sea, and even going to space. Which is a great thing indeed.
But when it comes to technologies or rules on which life really depends on, it fails too much. I refer to the crash of helicopter flight Sikorsky S-76B N72EX with 9 people on board, including Kobe Bryant:
The helicopter was flying under special VFR and the pilot and aircraft were fully capable of IFR flight, according to this source: "Special visual flight rules blend the two: If you’re passing through an area enforcing instrument rules, but are heading for an area under visual rules, you can ask to continue flying under visual rules, so long as you stay clear of clouds. It’s fairly common but is allowed only for pilots who are certified to fly under instrument rules, and only in helicopters with the needed instruments. Pilots sometimes use the special visual flight rules to avoid the hassle of filing detailed plans before takeoff, required on flights under instrument control."
That being said, upon reaching the heavy fog of the Santa Monica mountains, the pilot could have easily switched to emergency IFR. Because special VFR aircraft need to be fully capable for IFR, just in case "something went wrong".
As a matter of fact, upon reaching the Santa Monica mountains the visibility was so bad, that the pilot of flight N72EX did indeed start a steep climb and flew through the clouds, therefore at instrumental meteorological conditions (IMC) which forced him to go into de facto IFR mode, obviously, which would not have been a problem at all.
Therefore, the extremely low visibility was not the (direct) cause of this helicopter crash, but rather a too low altitude, which has been recognized by the responsible ATC (have a look into the ATC recording starting at about 4:00 until the end). There are no known direct eyewitnesses of the crash of helicopter flight, but there are many earwitnesses who heard the helicopter flying just over their heads, but weren't able to see it due to extreme fog at the site, shortly before it crashed into a hill, therefore the altitude was too low indeed.
So how is it possible that in the 21th century a fully capable IFR helicopter and a IFR-certified pilot are making such an error, trying to navigate between hills by GPS while maintaining an altitude much too low for IFR or flight following?
Why isn't there an emergency flight rule in place that would have allowed the pilot with 20 years of flight experience to climb right before the Santa Monica mountains until the IFR minimum ground altitude was reached (maybe around 2400 feet), continuing the flight under emergency IFR and by flight following?