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3 bodies recovered: Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, 7 others die in helicopter crash

Crash suchene rescue team says they have recovered three bodies (unidentified) from the helicopter crash involving Kobe Bryant, Daughter Gianna Bryant and 7 others.

Updates

21:00 GMT — Officials say they have recovered three bodies from the crash site — but have not specified on the IDs of those bodies. Officials worked well into the night on Sunday but had to suspend the search due to darkness and safety concerns. The search resumed Monday morning. No word on if any other bodies have recovered in Monday’s search.

15:11GMT — 1/27 — All 9 people on the helicopter have been identified …

Kobe Bryant (41), Gianna Bryant (13), John Altobelli (56), Keri AltobelliAlyssa AltobelliSarah Chester (45), Payton Chester (13), Christina Mauser and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.

Mauser was an assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team.

11:44 GMT: Who were the other victims in the helicopter?

Nine people died in the helicopter crash that killed basketball legend Kobe Bryant — including his daughter, Gianna, and her basketball teammate.

While police have not released the names of the people on board, family members of some victims have confirmed their loved ones’ deaths. Here are the emerging names and faces:

Altobelli family:

Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and daughter, Alyssa were aboard the helicopter, said Altobelli’s brother Tony.

Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy, and Altobelli would “routinely” fly with his daughter to attend the games, said OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa.

Altobelli, 56, leaves behind a son and daughter, according to an OCC Pirate Athletics news release.

“There were two sides to John,” Tony Altobelli said. “People saw him on the baseball field, he’s gritty and tough as nails kind of guy but the other side of him, he was one of the biggest-hearted people you’ll meet in your life. He cared about his players, cared about his school.”


A coach and mother:

Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball school at a K-8 private school in Orange County also died in the crash.

“My kids and I are devastated,” her husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on Facebook. “We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”

01:58 GMT — The Mayor of Costa Mesa, Katrina Foley, just confirmed the identity of one of the other victims in the helicopter crash, The girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, who’s married to Tijuana Dogs singer Matt Mauser. Matt also confirmed the news himself.

On Facebook, he wrote “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”

Sources say the pilot contacted the control tower at Burbank Airport around 9:30 AM PT, and the tower was aware the pilot had been circling for about 15 minutes. The pilot eventually headed north along the 118 freeway before turning to the west, and started following above the 101 freeway around Woodland Hills, CA.

At around 9:40 AM PT they encounter more weather — seriously heavy fog – and the chopper turned south. This was critical, because they turned toward a mountainous area. The pilot suddenly and rapidly climbed from about 1200 feet up to 2000 feet.

However, moments later – around 9:45 AM PT – they flew into a mountain at 1700 feet. Flight tracker data shows they were flying at about 161 knots.

01:30 GMT — L.A. weather was extremely foggy Sunday morning, and law enforcement sources say even LAPD air support was grounded because of it. Flight tracker data shows Kobe’s chopper appeared to first encounter weather issues as it was above the L.A. Zoo. It circled that area at least 6 times at a very low altitude — around 875 feet — perhaps waiting for the fog to clear.

00:49 GMT 1/27— Michael Jordan has spoken on Kobe’s death, saying … “I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much.”

He adds, “He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”

23:39 GMT Authorities confirmed that according to the flight manifest they were 9 passengers on board and all died. The cause of the crash is still unclear but an investigation is underway

23:30 GMT Authorities near the crash site are about to hold a news conference.

23:24 GMT NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant

23:11 GMT Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Sunday Dare on Twitter reacted to the news of the passing of Kobe

“I join the rest of the sporting world, particularly basketball lovers to mourn the death of one of the basketball greats- Kobe Bryant. His death is heart wrenching and concentrates the mind. God knows best ! No one knows.” He said.

23:06 GMT: Sources report that John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, has been conformed as one of the other helicopter passengers.

21:35 GMT : Kobe’s daughter Gianna Maria Onore — aka GiGi — was also on board the helicopter and died in the crash. She was 13. Sources say they were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred. The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks.

TMZ broke the news that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday 26th January 2020 at about 10am PT.

Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead.

Sources say eyewitnesses heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down. As you can see, flames and smoke covered much of the scene from the wreck. The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.

KB is survived by his wife Vanessa. Together, they have four daughters — Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri. Kobe and Vanessa got married in 2001 after meeting in 1999.

A memorial to Kobe has already sprung up outside of Staples Center, where Kobe played for years.

Kobe has recently been spotted out at NBA games with his daughter Gianna — a rising star basketball player herself. Their youngest daughter, Capri, was just born in June 2019.

Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time — making 18 All-Star teams during his 20 year career with the Lakers. He was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs and he was the league MVP in ’08.

He was on 15 All-NBA Teams, 12 All-Defensive Teams and led the league in scoring for two seasons. He ranks fourth in the NBA for all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring. He also repped USA in a number of Olympics appearances.

The Lakers famously retired both of Kobe’s jerseys, number 8 and 24 … the only player in team history to receive that honor.

Kobe’s accomplishments stand far outside of the basketball world. He won an Oscar for his short film, “Dear Basketball,” in 2018.

On Saturday, LeBron James passed Kobe as third on the all-time NBA scoring list. He paid tribute to Bron on Instagram — his last post — by saying, “On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.”

At age 34, Kobe became the youngest player in NBA history to surpass the 30,000 point mark. Speaking of putting up points, the guy was notorious for his 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. It was one of the greatest performances in modern NBA history.

Another major highlight from his long career was his final game in 2016 against the Utah Jazz, when he dropped 60 points and went out with a bang to help his team win. It was especially moving considering his injury-plagued years, which started in 2013 when he tore his Achilles tendon.

He was 41 years old. RIP

Story developing …

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