Los Angeles County officials said the Sunday morning helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also claimed the lives of seven other victims.
Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said after receiving a 911 call just before 10 a.m. on Sunday, they discovered a brush fire and debris scattered along the hillside upon arrival to the crash site in Calabasas, California.
Paramedic teams rushed to the site, but determined that all nine people — eight passengers and the pilot — had already perished.
“We had one helicopter fly into the incident with firefighter paramedics on board,” Osby said. “Those paramedics were hoisted down to the incident, early into the incident, they did a search of the area for survivors. Unfortunately … all onboard were determined to have been perished.”
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) January 26, 2020
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were on board when the helicopter crashed. The Orange County Register reported that Orange Coast college baseball coach John Altobelli also died in the crash. John’s brother, Tony, told CNN that John’s wife and one of their two daughters were also killed in the crash. Christina Mauser, an Orange County girls basketball assistant coach, was traveling with the group as well, per CNN.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva declined to identify anyone involved in the crash.
“There is wide speculation who the identities are. However it is entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberative process and they have made notifications to next of kin,” Villanueva said.
Several outlets reported the helicopter was en route to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where Gianna Bryant was going to play in some afternoon games while Kobe Bryant would serve as coach.
Low visibility in the area
Villanueva said on Sunday night that there was “low visibility and low ceiling” in the area due to fog when the helicopter crashed. He also confirmed that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not have any helicopters in the air at the time due to weather.
He also estimated that it would take several days to complete their investigation and clear the crash site — which he said was roughly the size of a football field in either direction.
An investigation into the cause of the crash, however, is still ongoing.
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