(Updated, 28.01) While CitySpy generally only covers local events, being from Los Angeles, I would be remiss not to post about this tragic event.
New information has continued to come to light, but major news outlets have confirmed that Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and as many as seven others were aboard a private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, California shortly before 10am. There were no survivors..
Officials stated the crash ignited a brush fire and made it difficult for firefighters and emergency personnel to get to the aircraft, but that the brush fire has been contained.
Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.
Bryant, who spent 20 years playing for the L.A. Lakers, began his career with the 96-97 season at just 17 years-old, and went on to become a worldwide legend as a five-time NBA champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010) and 18-time All-Star.
Bryant is the Lakers’ franchise leader in points (33,643), games played (1,346), 3-pointers (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws (8,378). He became the first player to spend at least 20 seasons with one franchise and retired in 2016
After retiring due to a number of serious injuries, Bryant began to explore other opportunities including his passion of mentoring young people. In 2018, he won an Oscar with director Glen Keane for the animated short film DEAR BASKETBALL, and he created Granity Studios with the goal of “teaching valuable life lessons to the next generation with stories that represent a competitive mindset about being the best at what you do.”
Bryant and daughter Gianna are survived by his wife and Gianna’s mother Vanessa and their daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri (who was born in June).
Officials have not officially announced the names of the other victims, but Orange Coast College confirmed that its baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa were killed along with Christina Mauser, an assistant coach for the girls basketball team at the Mamba Sports Academy (which was confirmed by her husband on Facebook), Sarah Chester, her daughter Payton, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Thousands of fans have flooded Los Angeles Staples Center, the crash site, and even one of Bryant’s home in the Los Angeles suburb of Newport Beach to leave notes, candles, and flowers in remembrance.
The group were on their way to a basketball, tournament.