Ahead of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday, January 26th, 2020, tragic news rippled across the nation as outlets began to report of the sudden and tragic helicopter accident that claimed the lives of nine people – including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.
#BREAKING: 41-year-old former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant reportedly among 5 dead in helicopter crash in Calabasas, California – TMZ/WaPo
— I.E.N. (@BreakingIEN) January 26, 2020
Onboard the helicopter with Kobe and Gianna Bryant were six other passengers and the single pilot. The flight was headed to a basketball game in Los Angeles when it crashed.
According to The Los Angeles Times, a dense fog covered the area and much of the rest of Southern California during the morning hours of Sunday, January 26th, 2020.
The pilot had noted he was flying under “special visual flight rules” indicating that visibility and conditions were very poor. The pilot also requested “flight following” from air towers which is where radio operators frequently communicate with the pilot and assist with navigation.
The Times then reports that operators providing instruction are heard telling the pilot he is too low for “flight following” and the transmission then ends.
According to other reports, the flight tracker data shows the helicopter crashing at an extremely high rate of speed – around 185 MPH.
Below are the nine victims who tragically lost their lives in this terrible accident.
- Kobe Bryant
NBA legend and admired basketball player.
- Gianna Bryant
Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter who was an aspiring basketball player herself.
- John Altobelli
Head baseball coach for Orange Coast College and father of Alyssa Altobelli – one of Gianna’s basketball teammates. He was a former coach of the Brewster Whitecaps on Cape Cod.
- Keri Altobelli
Wife of John Altobelli and mother of Alyssa Altobelli.
- Alyssa Altobelli
Daughter of John and Keri Altobelli and good friend and teammate of Gianna Bryant.
- Christina Mauser
A basketball coach at Harbor Day School where Gianna Bryant attended school and close family friend of the Bryants.
- Sarah Chester
Mother of Payton Chester who was another of Gianna Bryant’s teammates.
- Payton Chester
Daughter of Sarah Chester and fellow basketball teammate of Gianna Bryant.
- Ara Zobayan
Helicopter pilot and respected flight instructor throughout the community.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the great loss of life in this terrible accident.