All nine victims of the deadly helicopter crash that took the lives of Lakers’ basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna have been identified.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday. No one on board survived.
Bryant, 41, was headed to the Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks to coach in a basketball tournament that Gianna was going to be playing in.
The seven others killed in the crash were identified by family, friends and officials throughout the day Sunday.
John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli
Costa Mesa’s Orange Coast College confirmed their longtime head baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, was on the aircraft with his daughter Allyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli.
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” Athletic Director Jason Kehler said in a 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.”
Alyssa and Gianna were teammates at the Mamba Academy and were headed there to attend a game, OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa told CNN.
Much like Bryant, John Altobelli was a dedicated family man, said Nate Johnson, another OCC assistant coach.
“Underneath his hat, he’d write their initials …,” Johnson told KTLA. “He loved his family, and everything he did out here was for them.”
Sarah and Payton Chester
Orange County resident Sarah Chester, 45, and her daughter Payton Chester, 13, were also killed in the crash, according to Todd Schmidt, a former principal at Harbor View Elementary School.
“This family made such a huge impact at Harbor View…they were genuine, kind-hearted, and caring…to the staff, to other families…and yes, especially to me,” Schmidt wrote via Facebook.
An Instagram post apparently made by the son and brother of the Chesters, Riley Chester, confirmed the deaths.
“Rest In Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom,” he wrote.
Sarah leaves behind her husband and two 16-year-old boys.
Girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser, 38, was also among those killed, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted Sunday. Mauser worked at a nearby private elementary school.
“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,” her husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on a Facebook post.
He said the mother of three, who lived in Huntington Beach, had a passion for basketball. She was an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, according to her husband.
She was also an assistant coach for Gianna Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team.
Her husband founded the Tijuana Dogs, a popular Orange County band.
Friends identified the pilot of the helicopter as Ara Zobayan from Huntington Beach.
Zobayan was an experienced pilot and instructor, who had been flying for more than 20 years, friends said.
Friends have identified the pilot as— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) January 27, 2020
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
The cause of Sunday’s crash is still under investigation.
It was discovered Monday that Bryant’s helicopter received clearance to fly under worse-than-normal conditions.
The fog in the area Sunday morning was considered dangerous enough that local police agencies had grounded their helicopters.
Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrectly spelled name. This post has been updated.