A helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas has claimed the lives of nine people. Among them famed basketball star for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, and his 13-year-old daughter, Ginanna.
ABC affiliate, 7 News in Los Angeles reports that a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the Sikorsky S-76 went down on a hillside in Calabasas. Aviation investigators from the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are looking into the cause of the crash.
The helicopter was heading for an away game. Authorities say that the crash was reported at 9:47 a.m. along Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street.
Fire Chief Daryl Osby, with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said that the terrain was rough. By the time emergency crews arrived at the scene, the aircraft was already on fire and spread to nearby vegetation. Approximately one-quarter acre of the nearby brush was burned. According to Chief Osby, there was magnesium present from the crash which is difficult to put out.
The LACFD also dispatched paramedics using a helicopter were lowered to the scene of the crash to give aid to any survivors in the crash. All were reported dead at the scene.
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According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, three other victims have identified who was on the helicopter at the time of the tragic accident was John Altobelli, head basketball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife, Keri and their daughter, Alyssa. Altobelli had coached 28 basketball seasons at the college. Christina Mauser, who was an assistant basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Orange County, was also reportedly on board the helicopter when it crashed.
Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and two young daughters.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public to stay away from the crash site as it will take some time to recover the bodies of those who died in the crash and to investigate the scene. The FAA has placed a five-mile flight restriction over the area around the crash site.
The FBI, NTSB, FAA, as well as local law enforcement and fire agencies, are working in cooperation as to why the Sikorsky S-76 crashed. So far, investigators believe that the foggy weather in the area at the time may have contributed to the cause of the crash.