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NBA icon Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna among 9 killed in helicopter crash

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2020 @ 4:59 PM
Updated: Sunday, January 26, 2020 @ 4:59 PM

NBA icon Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash in California

Authorities confirmed a helicopter reportedly carrying NBA icon Kobe Bryant crashed in California with no survivors, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 8 a.m. EST Jan. 27: Although police have not released the victims’ names, news outlets have identified the four others who died in the incident. They include Christina Mauser, an assistant basketball coach at a Southern California private school; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton Chester; and the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, according to CNNKCBS and KSWB.

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Update 6:58 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli’s wife Keri and daughter Alyssa were also on board the helicopter, CNN reported.

Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy, a youth sports academy Kobe Bryant launched in 2018. They were flying from Orange County to Thousands Oaks to attend a game.

Update 5:42 p.m. EST Jan. 26: The fiery crash and rugged terrain made it difficult for responders to approach the scene.

Rescuers were lowered from a helicopter into the crash site in an attempt to reach victims, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said Sunday at a news conference.

Nine people, a pilot and eight passengers, were aboard the helicopter when it crashed. Officials did not identify any of the victims saying they would wait for the medical examiner’s report first.

Update 5:30 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was one of the nine people on board, the Orange County Register reported.

Update 4:30 p.m. EST Jan. 26: Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was on board and also killed in the crash, the Los Angeles Times reported.

 

Original report: TMZ first reported on its website that Bryant, 41, an 18-time all-star, was aboard the aircraft. CNN also confirmed Bryant was aboard the helicopter. The Los Angeles Times, also citing sources, said Bryant was killed when the helicopter crashed in foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas.

Now fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with 33,643 points, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA regular-season MVP in 2008.

A helicopter crashed and burst into flames Sunday morning amid foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas, with multiple fatalities reported, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. local time, the newspaper reported, citing a report from a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The crash ignited a brush fire and made it difficult for firefighters and emergency personnel to get to the aircraft, the watchman told the Times.

Bryant played 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his final tweet, Bryant congratulated LeBron James for passing him as the NBA’s third-leading all-time scorer.

James inscribed his sneakers with “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker before the game, ESPN reported.

Bryant is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash, the Times reported.