Nine People Including Kobe Bryant Have Been Identified as Victims of California Helicopter Crash

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she…
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nine victims including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna passed near Calabasas, California yesterday morning.

Nine people alongside Kobe Bryant were killed when a helicopter crashed near Calabasas, California, the victims have been identified by their employers, family members and friends.

According to BuzzFeed, the victims included Gianna Bryant, two other teenage girls with their family members, a basketball coach and the pilot of the helicopter. They were reportedly on their way from Orange County to a girl’s basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy.

Gianna Bryant, 13, was a rising basketball star. She was set to play in a tournament which her father was coaching when the helicopter crashed on Sunday. Bryant has previously shared that Gianna rekindled his love for basketball after he retired, in an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! he once shared that she wanted to play for the WNBA.

John Altobelli, 56, a beloved junior college baseball coach, his wife Keri, and their youngest daughter Alyssa, 13 were among those who passed. The Washington Post reports he led Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California to more than 700 wins over 27 seasons. Alyssa and Gianna were teammates at the Mamba Sports Academy, Bryant and Altobelli sparked a friendship when their daughters began playing together.

Altobelli and his wife are survived by two other children, a son J.J. and a daughter Lexi.

Christina Mauser, 38, was the assistant coach for the Mamba Academy basketball team. In an interview with the Today show, her husband Matt shared, “She was incredibly witty, funny, funny like nobody you’ve ever met. … She was warm, she was incredibly bright, she was technologically incredibly savvy.” Mauser who is survived by her husband and three children had previously worked at Harbor Day School and coached the eighth grade girls’ basketball team to its first championship, reports BuzzFeed.

Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton, were also killed in the helicopter crash. Payton, an eighth grader, played for the Mamba girls’ team alongside Gianna Bryant and Alyssa Altobelli.

Payton’s grandmother, Catherine George released a statement to NBC News on her granddaughter’s love for basketball and what it was like playing for Bryant. She shared, “He was a great coach. Her mother and father were very helpful… and they practiced a lot, and for 13 she was very good.” When speaking of her daughter Sarah, she said, “Sarah was the heart of that family. She died doing what she loves.”

Sarah Chester is survived by her husband Chris, two sons Hayden and Riley, both 16.

Ara Zobayan, the pilot of the helicopter also passed. According to the Washington Post, he was also an instructor for aspiring pilots. He was well respected in the aviation community, according to licensed pilot Christina Pascucci of KTLA. Darren Kemp, one of his flight students shared that Zoboyan was considered Bryant’s private pilot and that Bryant didn’t “let anyone else fly him around but Ara.”

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