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Monday, 27 January 2020

Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant, 41, And His Daughter Gianna, 13, Are Killed In Calabasas Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (pictured together in December) and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed along with and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning.   

The 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star's private Sikorsky S-76 struck a hillside amid heavy fog and immediately caught fire at around 10am.  

Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas after a group of mountain bikers spotted the smoke. 


Initial reports claimed five had been killed, but the death toll was raised to nine - including the pilot - at a press conference Sunday night.  

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter's engine sputtering before it went down near the home of Kourtney Kardashian.  
The 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star's private Sikorsky S-76 struck a hillside amid heavy fog and immediately caught fire at around 10am. Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas after a group of mountain bikers spotted the smoke
The 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star's private Sikorsky S-76 struck a hillside amid heavy fog and immediately caught fire at around 10am. Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas after a group of mountain bikers spotted the smoke

Everyone on board the helicopter was killed when it crashed in the hills near Calabasas
A flight plan indicated the helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9.06am PST and the last signal was received from the aircraft at 9.45am. It was expected to land at San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte. 

Sources told TMZ  the 18-time NBA All-Star was headed to Mamba Academy - which he founded - in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice. The outlet reported that one of the passengers killed was John Altobelli - a baseball coach at Orange County College. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that another player and parent were also on the helicopter. Their identities have not been confirmed. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva would not confirm the identities of the victims Sunday afternoon pending official word from the coroner. 'God bless their souls,' Villanueva said at a news conference. 

Those living nearby the crash scene said they heard what sounded like a low-flying airplane or helicopter. Colin Storm said: 'It was very foggy so we couldn't see anything. But then we heard some sputtering, and then a boom.'

Firefighters hiked in with medical equipment and hoses, and medical personnel rappelled to the site from a helicopter, but found no survivors, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

Bryant was believed to be flying in the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter he'd used to travel for years. He is seen preparing to board the private chopper in Los Angeles in April 2013
Bryant was believed to be flying in the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter he'd used to travel for years. He is seen preparing to board the private chopper in Los Angeles in April 2013

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