Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant was on his way to the academy to coach his academy when the helicopter crashed, A college baseball coach, along with his wife and daughter, also died in the crash.
Kobe Bryant was among the passengers travelling on board the helicopter. Nine people died in the crash, including the pilot, said Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, during a news conference.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it sent a team to California on Sunday evening.
Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles County fire chief, said the crash site was difficult to access and that firefighters had to hike to the area.
It was not instantly clear how many passengers the helicopter was authorized to transport, and fire officials said it was not immediately clear whether the plane was overloaded.
The NBA sent a confirmation of Kobe Bryant’s and Gianna Bryant’s deaths to all teams and league employees Sunday afternoon, according to two people familiar with the document.
The other victims of the crash included John Altobelli, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., as well as Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, university officials told.
The authorities stated it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency officials had found it dangerous to reach during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, the sheriff said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.
The local authorities did not immediately release the identities of the people who were aboard the helicopter, including Kobe Bryant, and the chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.
“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly, and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”
Outside the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., fans placed flowers and lit candles at an impromptu memorial for their star. The gym had handwritten signs on the door: Closed.
A few dozen people, adults of all ages, stood gathered in silence around the memorial of several jerseys, candles, dozens of bouquets, Sports Illustrated magazines with Bryant on the cover, and a Lakers flag. Written on one bouquet was, “We love you, Kobe and Gigi.” Another card, the shape of a Lakers basketball, read, “The day we lost a legend: 1-26-20 Thank you for being a role model for me and others.”
Kobe Bryant was on his route to the academy to coach his daughter when the helicopter crashed, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details of the ongoing investigations.
Kobe Bryant Awards
Drafted to the N.B.A. straight out of high school in 1996, Bryant was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the Lakers and helped lead the team to five championships. His hypercompetitive nature led to occasional public disagreements with coaches and other players, but his commitment to winning was never questioned.
The winner of the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, and the N.B.A. finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, Bryant showed a rare commitment to success on both ends of the court, with a résumé that included two scoring titles — and an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history — along with 12 appearances on the league’s All-Defense team. He also thrived on the international stage, where he won gold medals for the U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
In 2016, after several injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he proved to have one more highlight in him, scoring 60 points in his final game while leading the last-place Lakers to a surprising win over the Utah Jazz.
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