Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and one daughter among nine people were killed Sunday morning when a helicopter crashed into a hill in Calabasas, California, sources, and officials said.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter 13 years Gianna Maria Onore Bryant had been expected in Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for the basketball game scheduled for Sunday. Gianna is expected to play in the game and Bryant is expected to coach, according to team director Evelyn Morales Lady Mavericks.
The helicopter crash, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, causing a brush fire, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby. The accident killed nine people on board, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Previously, the sheriff’s department said five people were killed in the crash. Officials have yet to identify the victim.
Tony Altobelli told Bramptonnews his brother, Orange Coast College basketball coach John Altobelli, 56; Daughter of John and his wife Keri Alyssa died in the crash. Altobelli is a former assistant baseball coach at the University of Houston, said the school.
Alyssa and Gianna are teammates, said Tony Altobelli.
Christina Mauser, girls basketball assistant coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, California, was killed in the accident, her husband Matt Mauser, wrote on his Facebook page.
“My children and I were devastated. We lost a beautiful wife and mother today in a helicopter crash,” he wrote.
LA Fire Department captain. Tony Imbrenda said he did not immediately have any information about whether the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter radioed a distress signal.
“Individuals who look down on the plane said it was significant enough level of speed and impacted the ground on the hillside,” he told reporters.
Imbrenda said he did not know where the helicopter took off from or where it was headed.
The helicopter was built in 1991, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It was registered to Island Express Holding Corp., according to an FAA registry database.
Calls to Island Express were not answered Sunday. The company is based in Fillmore, according to the California Secretary of State’s database.
FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the FAA said in a tweet. An NTSB team is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Sunday night, the NTSB said in a tweet. The FBI said was assisting the NTSB in the investigation.
There is very low visibility at the time of the accident and the conditions were foggy and cloudy with drizzle, according to Bramptonnews. Pictures were taken shortly after the accident shows the fog in the area. The relative humidity is 100%, which means the air like a soup, said Guy.
Due to foggy conditions, the Los Angeles Police Department grounded his helicopter Sunday morning, a spokesman told Bramptonnews. A police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said the weather conditions do not meet minimum standards for the flight.
A heralded career
Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters. His oldest daughter turned 17 a week ago; his youngest daughter is 7 months old.
Bryant’s death comes a day after LeBron James passed him as No. 3 on the NBA all-time scoring list when he reached 33,643 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” Bryant tweeted Saturday night.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 and went on to become one of the NBA’s greatest champions. He was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia in 1996. He was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Bryant played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships. He has two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.
Bryant retired in April 2016 after scoring 60 points in his final game. He said his “body knew it was time to say goodbye.”
“In many ways, he was the Los Angeles Lakers. When you think of Kobe Bryant, it’s sports, but it’s more than sports. He was part of our culture, Olympic teams, Hollywood, the father of four daughters,” Bramptonnews sports analyst said. Bryant was seen at women’s sporting events including the US women’s soccer team and WNBA games with his daughters, and he was “all about the empowerment of young women,” she said.
Brennan said Bryant had “become a cultural icon and not just about sports, but about our culture and a huge piece of Americana and that’s why this news is absolutely tragic.”
Sportscaster told Bramptonnews Bryant was “always a legendarily hard worker.”
“Even at the peak of his career before age and injuries may have slowed him a little bit, he always came back after each offseason having added something to his game — a new move, a new dimension,” Costas told Bramptonnews.
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 26, 2020
Nooooooooooo God please No!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 26, 2020
I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 26, 2020
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents,” Obama tweeted.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called Bryant a “giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved.
“He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”
President Donald Trump tweeted about Bryant’s death, saying, “He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating….”
Across from the Staples Center in Los Angeles — where the Grammy Awards were being held –, hundreds of fans stood around a memorial of Bryant’s jerseys, photos, and candles. Many wore Bryant’s jerseys. Pumping their fists, some yelled, “MVP.” They chanted “Kobe,” and “GiGi,” for his daughter.
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