CALABASAS, California (KETK) – Authorities say nine people died in the helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter.
While initial reports say Bryant and his daughter were among five victims in the crash, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a manifest listed nine passengers aboard.
He did not release any names during the press conference and declined to officially identify Bryant as a victim, citing official procedures still underway.
While officials have not confirmed the victims, The University of Houston has confirmed that John Altobelli, a former assistant baseball coach, was among those killed.
John’s younger brother, Tony, confirmed that his brother died along with his wife, Keri, and 13-year-old daughter Alyssa who played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter.
LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby described the fiery wreckage and scene that was difficult to access after the call came in 9:47 a.m.
Authorities said the wreckage covered about a quarter acre and flames were put out after an hour.
First responders had to hike to the crash scene, Osby said.
FAA is on the scene and NTSB investigators have sent a team of 18 people to survey the damage.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Bryant and his daughter were traveling to the Kobe Bryant basketball tournament when the helicopter crashed.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said it was a Sikorsky S-76 and it was not known what caused the crash.
The City of Calabasas tweeted its sadness over the crash and confirmed that no one on the ground was injured.
Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
Youth teams were playing in a basketball tournament at Mamba Sports when the news of the crash came. All games were canceled immediately once the news was received.
LeBron James of the Lakers passed Bryant Saturday night as the third-highest scorer in the history of the NBA. In his last tweet, Bryant congratulated James for the accomplishment.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca, and newborn Capri.
The NBA released a statement Sunday afternoon on Bryant’s death: