By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Source: Multiple Sources; Including Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner, Los Angeles County Fire Department, National Basketball Association, and Orange Coast College (Information):
Pictures: Multiple Sources; Including National Basketball Association, Orange Coast College, KCBS 2, KNBC 4, NBC News, KABC 7, KTTV Fox 11 (Courtesy):
Calabasas, California: We are learning more about the nine victims who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26th, 2020.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the helicopter crash was reported at 9:47 a.m. PT in rough terrain in the area of Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street.
The helicopter crash killed basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter, two coaches from schools in Orange County, California, the wife and daughter of one of those coaches, a mother and her daughter, and the pilot of the helicopter.
The names of the victims in the deadly helicopter crash have been identified as Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant; John Altobelli, wife Keri and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and daughter Payton Chester; and Ara Zobayan, the pilot.
The helicopter owned by Kobe Bryant was on the way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, California before the crash.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the helicopter crash.
** We remember the nine victims who were killed in the helicopter crash: **
- 41 year old Kobe Bryant: A basketball legend and a married father of four girls, ranging in age from less than 1 year to 17 years old. He played for the Lakers for 20 seasons, winning five championships, and was selected to the All-Star team 18 times. Complete coverage on Bryant here.
- 13 years old Gianna “Gigi” Maria-Onore Bryant: Kobe’s daughter and a budding basketball star herself. Kobe coached her AAU team, who wore black “Mamba” uniforms.
- John Altobelli, Kerri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli: John Altobelli was the longest-tenured baseball coach in the history of Orange Coast College, entering his 28th season. His wife Kerri and daughter Alyssa were on the helicopter when it crashed, according to Altobelli’s brother, Tony. Altobelli led the Pirates to numerous championship titles, garnering more than 700 wins during his career and four state championships. “John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” said Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler in a written statement. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family.”
Orange Coast College posted this picture of their head baseball coach John Altobelli, and released this statement, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli. He was a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend at OCC for 27 years. **The Altobelli family has also confirmed the death of Keri and Alyssa Altobelli. “John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” says Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy.” Altobelli led the Pirates to numerous conference and state championship titles, notching more than 700 wins during his career and four state championships. In 2019, he was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association as an ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year, a testament to his incredible work ethic and passion for the game. “Coach Alto” was a mentor to his players, often playing a key role in positioning student athletes to obtain scholarships to play at the four-year level. “We have lost a member of our OCC family, and our hearts are broken,” says OCC President Angelica Suarez. “Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus – a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend. This is a tremendous loss for our campus community.” Orange Coast College asks the media and the public to respect the privacy of John’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
The Orange Coast College Foundation has established an Altobelli Family Memorial. Donations may be directed to: http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/about_occ/Foundation/ or by mail to: Orange Coast College Foundation Altobelli Family Memorial Fund 2701 Fairview Road Costa Mesa, California 92626.”
- Christina Mauser: She was an assistant basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Orange County. Her husband Matthew Mauser, the head basketball coach at the school, posted on Facebook: “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”
- Sarah Chester and Payton Chester: Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton were on the helicopter when it crashed, friends and family say. Payton attended St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano.
- Ara Zobayan: According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s pilot certification database, Zobayan was an instrument certified pilot who earned his commercial pilot’s license in 2007, and was a certified flight instructor for instrument instruction for helicopter pilots. Ara had flown celebrities like Kylie Jenner and her niece Dream.
ZachNews and the community sends our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the family and friends of the victims of the deadly helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.