Investigation begins on mysterious helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Onore, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

Investigators were trying to determine on Monday what caused the helicopter crash that killed basketball star, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna Onore, pilot Ara Zobayan, mother and daughter Sarah Chester and Payton Chester, husband, wife and daughter John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli as well as a girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser.

Pilot Ara Zobayan, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester
Pilot Ara Zobayan, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester

Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers legend, was considered one of the greatest basketball players of his generation. He was 41 when he passed away on Sunday January 26, 2020.

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The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas around 10 a.m. local time, killing everyone on board.

Officials said firefighters responding to a 911 call at 9:47 a.m. found a debris field in steep terrain with a quarter-acre brush fire while paramedics arriving by helicopter found no survivors.

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna

Bryant lived in Newport Beach and Los Angeles and was known to keep a chartered helicopter at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, LA Times said.

KTLA’s Christina Pascucci, a licensed pilot, said on Twitter that Zobayan was described as an experienced flyer who taught aspiring helicopter pilots to fly and was very much loved in the aviation community.

Pascucci said Zobayan was instrument rated pilot and could fly in fog/clouds.

Altobelli had three children, according to his profile on Orange Coast College’s website. Son J.J., a baseball scout for the Boston Red Sox, daughter Alexis, and daughter Alyssa who died along with him and his wife. Alyssa was a teammate of Gigi on their Mamba Academy basketball team.

From left to right: Christina Mauser, John and Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli
From left to right: Christina Mauser, John and Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli

Christina Mauser, a girls’ basketball coach was also killed in the crash on Sunday, as well as three other persons who were yet to be identified.

Mauser worked at a private school in Orange County, California. She was among nine people killed when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, according to Costa Mesa mayor Katrina Foley.

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The Sikorsky S-76 crashed in the hills of Calabasas around 10 a.m. local time, killing everyone on board.
The Sikorsky S-76 crashed in the hills of Calabasas around 10 a.m. local time, killing everyone on board.
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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