2020-01-27 03:39:12 UTC
...over safety fears as more of the nine victims of the Calabasas crash are
*Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in the helicopter
crash at around 10am Sunday
*Baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, daughter Alyssa and basketball
coach Christina Mauser also died
*The private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter caught fire after it struck a hillside in
Calabasas amid heavy fog
*Law enforcement told TMZ even LAPD air support had been grounded due to the bad
*Sources say it was headed to Bryant's Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for
*Initial reports claimed five had been killed, but the death toll was later
raised to nine - including the pilot
*The cause of the crash is under investigation and witnesses say they heard the
chopper engine 'sputtering'
*Bryant and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other
daughters Natalia, Bianca and Capri
*He spent his entire 20-year career with the LA Lakers, winning five NBA
championships before retiring in 2016
*News of his death sent shockwaves around the world as dozens of celebrities
paid tribute on social media
The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant flew through thick fog, despite Los Angeles
police grounding their own fleet, before crashing into a hillside in Calabasas,
California, killing all nine on board on Sunday morning.
The 41-year-old former Lakers basketball star's private Sikorsky S-76
immediately caught fire at around 10am. Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old
daughter Gianna and seven others.
Law enforcement told TMZ even LAPD air support had been grounded due to the bad
weather. Flight data shows the aircraft appeared to get into trouble above the
LA Zoo where it circled at a very low altitude and air traffic control audio
suggests conditions were worsening.
Initial reports claimed five people had been killed, but the death toll was
raised to nine - including the pilot - at a press conference Sunday night. Among
those killed was John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange County College, his
wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. Girls basketball coach Christina Mauser was also
killed in crash.
The cause of the crash is under investigation but the control tower at Burbank
Airport was contacted by the pilot shortly before 10am local time. At around
9:40 AM the helicoter turned south, towards a mountainous area, flight tracker
data shows. Five minutes later it hit the hillside at 1700 feet, near the home
of Kourtney Kardashian.
On eyewitness said they 'didnt hear any anomalies with the engine'. Scott
Daehlin, who was the first to contact officials about the crash, told People:
'It seemed to be running fine.' He said he believes 'visibility' was at fault.
Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star was said to have been headed to Mamba Academy -
which he founded - in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice.
Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the
scene near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas after a group of
mountain bikers spotted the smoke.
A flight plan indicated the helicopter, reportedly registered to Island Express
Holding Corp., took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9.06am PST
and the last signal was received from the aircraft at 9.45am. It was expected to
land at San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte.
Those living nearby the crash scene said they heard what sounded like a
low-flying airplane or helicopter. Colin Storm said: 'It was very foggy so we
couldn't see anything. But then we heard some sputtering, and then a boom.'
Calabasas resident Matt Graham told People: 'I was sitting on my couch when I
heard it go over our roof. I thought to myself, Wow theyre flying really low
today. It mustve been about 100 feet above our roof by the way the house was
shaking. I couldnt imagine why a helicopter was flying so low.'
Firefighters hiked in with medical equipment and hoses, and medical personnel
rappelled to the site from a helicopter, but found no survivors, Los Angeles
County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters
- Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born last summer.
A heartbreaking video of the deceased father-daughter duo attending a basketball
game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets on December 21 resurfaced
soon after the crash.
Bryant appears to be teaching Gianna - a budding basketball star herself - a
thing or two about the game while sitting courtside at the Barclays Center in
Brooklyn, New York.
Gianna frequently shared photos of herself on the court on social media.
The father and daughter were said to be heading to the Mamba Cup Tournament
Series, held for teams from the third to eighth grades. Bryant coached Giannas
team. All the games were canceled after the news of their deaths became public.
In final images of the pair taken Saturday Kobe watches Gianna play, appearing
to coach her at points.