Kobe Bryant death: Nine dead in helicopter crash that killed NBA star and teenage daughter, say officials

Original report suggested death toll was five

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Sunday 26 January 2020 18:50 GMT
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Basketball legend Kobe Bryant dead aged 41

A total of nine people were killed in the crash that left Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter dead, officials have said.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a pilot and eight passengers had been aboard the helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, California, early on Sunday.

Mr Villanueva did not identify anyone on the flight, saying it was “entirely inappropriate” to do so until the coroner made the identification to the next of kin.

He also criticised the news site TMZ, which was first to report the the death. “It’d be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one was perished and you learned about it from TMZ,” Mr Villanueva said.

“That is just wholly inappropriate, so we’re not gonna be going there. We’re gonna wait until the coroner does their job.”

The Associated Press and many other media outlets said Bryant died near Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna, also was killed.

Authorities confirmed that nine people were on the helicopter and all were presumed dead.

No names were released.

The federal national transportation safety board said it was launching a full investigation into the crash and its cause.

Jennifer Homendy, a member of the NTSB, said officials would be looking at both the history of the pilot, and the maintenance record of the aircraft.

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