Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash; 13-year-old daughter Gianna also reportedly among victims
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday morning, Yahoo Sports confirmed. His daughter, Gianna, was also on board as was another player and parent en route to a travel basketball game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Orange Coast college baseball coach John Altobelli also died in the crash, the Orange County Register reported. Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, were also on board, according to a CNN interview with Altobelli’s brother.
Christina Mauser, an Orange County girls basketball assistant coach, was traveling with the group as well, per CNN.
There were nine people on board in total, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced, with no survivors.
TMZ first reported the news. Several outlets reported the helicopter was en route to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where Gianna Bryant was going to play in some afternoon games while Kobe Bryant would serve as coach.
Bryant dies in helicopter crash
Bryant played his entire 20-year career for the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships prior to retiring in 2016. He was named Finals MVP twice and league MVP in 2008. Bryant was 41.
#Update Downed aircraft is a helicopter. Flames extinguished. #Malibu deputies at crash site looking for survivors, 4200 blk Las Virgenes Rd #Calabasas #LASD pic.twitter.com/eixLhGhLyE
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) January 26, 2020
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of a helicopter that crashed into a hillside and caught fire, NBC Los Angeles reported. The crash was called in at 9:47 a.m. local time, per the report, and flames that spread a quarter-acre were put out by 10:30.
The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76, crashed under unknown circumstances, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. An investigation is ongoing.
CNN’s transportation expert said the flight data shows the helicopter tightly circling downtown Los Angeles before heading out to Calabasas. It departed John Wayne International Airport and followed U.S. Route 101 before turning left toward the Calabasas hills, per a compiled Aviation Safety Network report.
Flighttrader shared the path on Twitter and Eric Leonard of NBC Los Angeles has the radar track.
We are following media reports the Kobe Bryant was among those killed in a crash of an S-76 helicopter near Calabasas, CA this morning. Initial data indicate N72EX is the aircraft involved. Data for N72EX is available at https://t.co/47EEtYA3uP pic.twitter.com/XZSFafHgmU
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 26, 2020
Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, reportedly on board
Gianna Bryant, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, was one of the four passengers killed in the crash, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
Gianna is also a basketball player and coached by her dad. He credited her with getting him back into watching the game and they’ve been seen courtside and NBA and WNBA games over the past few months. He proudly spoke about his daughter and what she would bring to her own legacy on the Jimmy Kimmel show in October 2018.
Kobe on Gianna: “The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans come up to me, and she'll be standing next to me ..
They’ll be like “you gotta have a boy, have soembody carry on the legacy... she’s like, “oh, I got this!”pic.twitter.com/rsIgOXbNlI
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 26, 2020
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, had four daughters together: Gianna, Natalia (age 17), Bianca (3) and Capri, who was born in June 2019.
College baseball coach dies in crash
OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa confirmed that Altobelli was on board and died in the crash, per the OC Register. Altobelli’s wife and daughter were also reportedly on board.
Gathering at Orange Coast College for John Altobelli. OCC baseball coach. He was on that helicopter with #Kobe pic.twitter.com/kgr3bK3lJE
— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) January 26, 2020
Altobelli was to begin his 24th season as the college’s baseball coach. He was named the 2019 American Baseball Coaches Association’s national coach of the year following the team’s state championship.
More from Yahoo Sports: