Tragic news hits the world when a helicopter crashed in Southern California claiming the lives of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Nine lives were lost in the tragic helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alec Villanueva, all eight passengers including the pilot of the aircraft passed away.
“There were no survivors… There were nine people on board the aircraft, the pilot plus eight individuals,” says Villanueva.
It is said that the helicopter crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas in the midst of foggy weather. Around 9:47 in the morning, firefighters were notified of a crash causing a bush fire along the hillside.
According to Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, firefighters were prompted to hike to the site of the crash carrying their medical equipment as well as their hose lines to extinguish the fire.
Upon investigation, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed that basketball legend Kobe Bryant and her daughter Gianna were among the passengers of the crashed aircraft.
“L.A. is grieving with the Bryant family over the loss of Gianna, who perished with her father and friends in today’s tragedy,” says Garcetti in a Twitter post.
According to reports, Kobe and Gianna were supposed to attend a game wherein the younger Bryant was supposed to play when the incident happened. Gianna is a child of Kobe with his wife Vanessa. They have four other children.
Other victims of the crash include another player and his parents. John Altobelli, 56, works as a baseball coach at Orange Coast College as well as his wife, Keri and daughter Alyssa were all in the chopper when the crash happened.
“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” says Villanueva, pertaining to a celebrity news website who was first to break the news despite pending notification of the family of the victims.
“That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”
An 18-person team will be dispatched by the National Transport Safety Board to investigate the crash.
“Our team will be looking at the history of the pilot and whatever crew was on board,” says Jennifer Homendy of the NTSB.
“We will be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter. We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things,” she added.
The helicopter used by Bryant is a Sikorsky S-76B which contains a black box that investigators will recover. The flight took off from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana at around 9:06 in the morning.
Meanwhile, according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, no player under his franchise will be allowed to use the No. 24 again following the passing of Kobe Bryant.
He said in a statement:
“We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend, and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.
Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.”