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Coaches, Rising B’Ball Players, An Experienced Pilot, Troubling Audio: The 7 Victims In Fatal Helicopter Crash With Kobe & Gianna Bryant + Lakers Game Postponed

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Seven other people lost their lives in the helicopter crash that took the lives of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. The group included two of Gianna’s basketball teammates, coaches and a longtime pilot. More inside…

As the world tries to wrap their minds around the shocking death of NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, the identities of the seven other people aboard the helicopter has been released. During a news conference yesterday, the LA County Fire Chief and LA County Sheriff said they wanted to be sure the families of the victims were notified first before releasing their identities, so they wouldn’t learn of their loved ones’ death via the Internet.

 

 

There were seven other people aboard the Sikorsky S-76 chopper that was headed to his Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park where Gianna had a youth basketball game. The helicopter crashed in steep terrain in the mountains in Calabasas, California after circling the city of L.A. for approximately 15 minutes.

His wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not on the helicopter. Sources told PEOPLE that Kobe & Vanessa “had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together." We've seen them both exiting a helicopter together previously before, though.

Previously, Kobe revealed he started using helicopters while he played for the Los Angeles Lakers as a way to spend more time with his family and less time stuck in traffic.

“I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing like a school play,” he told Alex Rodriguez in 2018. “I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time.” 

He reportedly took a helicopter to virtually every practice and home game. So this was a typical mode of transportation for him.

Many pilots who have been interviewed by news stations have all given similar takes - low level flying amid fog is not advised.  According to the NY Times, pilot Ara Zobayan who has 20+years of experience and who Kobe has flown with most of the time, received special clearance to do so.

The communication reportedly between their helicopter and the control towers is above.

The retired NBA player sponsored and helped coach Gianna’s AAU team and he would often take her to NBA games where they sat courtside discussing the game they loved.

Below is a clip of Kobe & Gianna dissecting an NBA game on December 21st where the Brooklyn Nets played the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

 

 

 

Loves it.

 

 

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and his youngest daughter Alyssa Altobelli (who was also Gianna’s teammate) were victims of the crash.

 

 

Christina Mauser was a girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. She was the mother of three young children and the wife of Matt Mauser, who posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash.

“I’ve got three small kids and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” he said during a phone call on the “TODAY" show early Monday morning following the crash.

“I’m scared more than anything — I’m a little scared for the future.”

Matt said his wife worked the 41-year-old retired NBA star at a clinic at Mamba Sports Academy and she was also a coach.

 

 

Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, who played basketball with Gianna, also lost their lives in the helicopter crash.

 

 

The pilot was Ara George Zobayan. A source told PEOPLE Kobe “only” flew in helicopters with pilot Ara Zobayan, who was among those killed in the crash.

We're sending out prayers to the Bryant Family and all of the families of the victims.

If you didn’t know, Kobe Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for his short film, “Dear Basketball.” Now, it plays like a eulogy.

Check it:

 

 

Also...

 

 

The Los Angles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers game scheduled for tomorrow will be postponed.

Photos: AP Photo/Chris Carlson/ Stefanie Dazio

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