Seven other people lost their lives in the helicopter crash that took the lives of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. The group included two of Gianna’s basketball teammates, coaches and a longtime pilot. More inside…
As the world tries to wrap their minds around the shocking death of NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, the identities of the seven other people aboard the helicopter has been released. During a news conference yesterday, the LA County Fire Chief and LA County Sheriff said they wanted to be sure the families of the victims were notified first before releasing their identities, so they wouldn’t learn of their loved ones’ death via the Internet.
In addition to Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, @CBSNews has identified the other victims of the deadly helicopter crash in California:
Christina Mauserhttps://t.co/o42tVC5NRn pic.twitter.com/EKadKjcNPu
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 27, 2020
There were seven other people aboard the Sikorsky S-76 chopper that was headed to his Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park where Gianna had a youth basketball game. The helicopter crashed in steep terrain in the mountains in Calabasas, California after circling the city of L.A. for approxiamately 15 minutes.
His wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not on the helicopter. Sources told PEOPLE that Kobe & Vanessa “had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together.” We’ve seen them both exiting a helicopter together previously before, though.
Previously, Kobe revealed he started using helicopters while he played for the Los Angeles Lakers as a way to spend more time with his family and less time stuck in traffic.
“I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing like a school play,” he told Alex Rodriguez in 2018. “I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time.”
He reportedly took a helicopter to virtually every practice and home game. So this was a typical mode of transportation for him.
Many pilots who have been interviewed by news stations have all given similar takes – low level flying amid fog is not advised. According to the NY Times, pilot Ara Zobayan who has 20+years of experience and who Kobe has flown with most of the time, received special clearance to do so.
The communication reportedly between their helicopter and the control towers is above.
The retired NBA player sponsored and helped coach Gianna’s AAU team and he would often take her to NBA games where they sat courtside discussing the game they loved.
Below is a clip of Kobe & Gianna dissecting an NBA game on December 21st where the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center in Brooklyn:
Kobe and Gigi courtside breaking down the game pic.twitter.com/FxqSjVx6ew
— ESPN (@espn) December 22, 2019
A moment of silence and thought to John Altobelli and family..
They were in the same chopper with Kobe ..
My heartfelt condolences #RIPAltobelliFamily #RIPKobeByant #KobeandGianna pic.twitter.com/G58e1hWjvB
— DataBuja (@KimenyiHenry) January 27, 2020
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and his youngest daughter Alyssa Altobelli (who was also Gianna’s teammate) were victims of the crash.
Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Del Mar, Ca. passed away on the helicopter that took the life of Kobe & Gianna Bryant. She leaves behind her husband Matt Hauser & their children! He’s on Facebook devastated! Keep her family in prayer! pic.twitter.com/7KkwZLcRvv
— Brunell Donald-Kyei (@brunelldonald) January 27, 2020
Christina Mauser was a girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. She was the mother of three young children and the wife of Matt Mauser, who posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash.
“I’ve got three small kids and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” he said during a phone call on the “TODAY” show early Monday morning following the crash.
“I’m scared more than anything — I’m a little scared for the future.”
Matt said his wife worked the 41-year-old retired NBA star at a clinic at Mamba Sports Academy and she was also a coach.
Sarah and Payton Chester were also victims of the helicopter crash that unfortunately took the lives of 9 people today, including Kobe and his daughter GiGi. Family is now confirming on social media publicly, so I’ve posted names.
Please keep their family in your prayers too pic.twitter.com/zJpzFzVIoM
— InMinivanHell (@inminivanhell) January 27, 2020
Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, who played basketball with Gianna, also lost their lives in the helicopter crash.
Friends have identified the pilot as
Ara Zobayan. He taught aspiring heli pilots to fly and was very much loved in the aviation community. They wrote “rest easy as you take your final flight to heaven.”@KTLA #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/8pQh9eNJTk
— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) January 27, 2020
The pilot was Ara George Zobayan. A source told PEOPLE Kobe “only” flew in helicopters with pilot Ara Zobayan, who was among those killed in the crash.
We’re sending out prayers to the Bryant Family and all of the families of the victims.
If you didn’t know, Kobe Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for his short film, “Dear Basketball.” Now, it plays like a eulogy.
This Oscar winning short film about #Kobe hit different right now. RIP pic.twitter.com/P0bifk7Zkc
— Voice of reason (@LyndaNwaizu) January 26, 2020
The following has been released by the NBA pic.twitter.com/NgrEP2qpDi
— NBA (@NBA) January 27, 2020
The Los Angles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers game scheduled for tomorrow will be postponed.
Photos: AP Photo/Chris Carlson/ Stefanie Dazio
Beyond The Court: Honoring Kobe Bryant’s Legacy As A Family Man!