Nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, were killed when the basketball legend’s helicopter crashed into a hillside outside Los Angeles on Sunday.
Officials on Monday were still working to determine what caused the fatal crash. The Sikorsky S-76 aircraft went down in foggy conditions that prompted local police agencies to ground their helicopters around the same time.
Though authorities had not yet publicly identified crash victims as of Monday morning, some relatives and community members had begun to confirm their loved ones’ deaths.
John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife, Keri; and their daughter, Alyssa, died in the crash, the school said in a statement on Sunday.
Alyssa and Gianna played together on the AAU basketball team coached by Bryant, reported The Houston Chronicle. The group was reportedly headed to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy for a tournament.
University of Houston baseball coach Todd Whitting told the Chronicle he was “absolutely devastated” by the deaths.
“Not only was John a great supporter of the UH program, but he was a great friend,” Whitting said. “He had such a zest for life and was a tremendous friend to all of us that were close to him.”
John and Keri Altobelli are survived by a daughter, Alexis, and a son, Red Sox scout J.J. Altobelli, reported the Chronicle.
Incredible sadness in So Cal & beyond over the loss of the Altobelli’s-onboard the chopper w #kobebryant. 13 yo Alyssa was a player on the Mambas. All 8 passengers were from #OrangeCounty headed to girls basketball tourney @cbsla #cbsla @orangecoast pic.twitter.com/L7sMzEew1G
— michele gile (@CBSmichelegile) January 27, 2020 Christina Mauser
Christina Mauser was the top assistant coach of the Mamba basketball team that included Gianna Bryant and Alyssa Altobelli, reported the Los Angeles Times. She also was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, roughly 40 miles south of Los Angeles.
Her husband, Matt Mauser, confirmed her death in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“My kids and I are devastated,” Mauser wrote. “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.”
Facebook Christina Mauser with her husband Matt. Sarah Chester, Payton Chester
“Rest in Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister,” Riley Chester wrote in an Instagram post Sunday that has since been deleted. “I love you Pay Pay and Mom RIP.”
The two were remembered by Todd Schmidt, the principal at Payton’s former elementary school, as an “amazing family … engaged, supportive, encouraging, and full of mischief and laughter.”
“While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important,” Schmidt wrote. “Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”
Facebook Payton Chester, left, with her mother Sarah. Ara Zobayan
Zobayan’s friend Jared Yochim mourned the loss on Facebook, recalling him as an “incredible pilot … and truly great man” who was “always cool, calm and collected.”
Yochim described Zobayan’s death as a tragedy for an entire community, adding: “Ara impacted so many people and only in a positive way. I’m sorry that you never got to meet him. You would’ve loved him, I promise.”
Friends have identified the pilot as Ara Zobayan. He taught aspiring heli pilots to fly and was very much loved in the aviation community. They wrote “rest easy as you take your final flight to heaven.”@KTLA #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/8pQh9eNJTk
— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) January 27, 2020
Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.