Officials launch investigation into helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and 8 others on board
This Sunday afternoon left a sad mark on many. A helicopter carrying legendary Los Angeles Lakers basketball player, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others on board, has crashed into a hillside near Malibu, killing everyone on board.
According to the Los Angeles Sheriff Department, they had to ground their helicopters around the time of the crash, due to low clouds and fog in the area. Los Angeles Police Department had to do the same with their choppers, too. At this time, authorities did not officially confirm if weather played a role in the accident, and the investigation is underway. Federal agencies will reportedly join California authorities to sort out the aftermath of the crash.
The flight manifest showed a pilot and eight passengers on board, including Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, as well as a community college basketball coach John Altobelli, who was on board with his wife and daughter. They were heading to the college basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
After takeoff on Sunday morning, the helicopter flew north from Orange County and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to continue the flight further. The helicopter was given a Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, which meant they could proceed through Burbank, and it was up to the pilot to decide whether it’s safe to continue the flight.
The helicopter model was a Sikorsky S-76B, which is known for its wide use in private and VIP transportation.
“The helicopter went down in an area with very rough terrain,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. She mentioned that even emergency crews found it dangerous trying to get there through daylight on Sunday. According to the chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, it might take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.
Gianna, who everyone called Gigi, was to continue her father’s basketball legacy. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” Bryant used to say.