As investigators look deeper into the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant, in Calabasas, California on Sunday afternoon, the potential cause or causes of the crash remains unclear.
State and federal authorities hadn’t identified any of the victims as of Monday afternoon, but eight of them were identified through official channels within 36 hours of the fatal crash. Family members and friends confirmed the identity of the remaining victim, the pilot, to multiple news outlets Monday.
Here are the identities of the nine people who died in the crash in a suburb of Los Angeles on Sunday, and how they are being remembered.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant
Bryant, 41, was aboard the helicopter with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna — a fledgling basketball talent in her own right.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend had shifted gears following his retirement from the NBA in 2016, turning his focus to creative endeavors outside of basketball while also operating a training center in California named the Mamba Sports Academy, where he trained Gianna’s youth basketball team. Bryant and his daughter were on their way to a game Sunday when the helicopter crashed.
Gianna, known as “GiGi,” was the second of Bryant’s four daughters. She was a student at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Christina Mauser, another crash victim, was a coach.
Bryant said in a 2018 interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that Gianna had aspirations of one day playing in the WNBA.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me, she’ll be standing next to me,” Bryant said, “and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you got to have a boy. You and (Vanessa) got to have a boy, man, you got to have somebody carry on your tradition, the legacy.’
“(Gianna’s) like, ‘Oi. I’ve got this. We don’t need no boy for that.’ And I’m like, ‘yes you do. You’ve got this.'”
John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli
John Altobelli, who had been the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College for more than two decades, was on the plane, the school confirmed Sunday night. He was with his wife, Keri, and one of his daughters, Alyssa. The longtime coach was 56.
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” Orange Coast College athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement.
Alyssa played on the same youth basketball team as Gianna Bryant, according to the Associated Press.
John Altobelli, who amassed more than 700 wins as a college baseball coach and also coached multiple MLB players in the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts, and his wife also had a second daughter, Alexis, and a son, JJ, who is a scout for the Boston Red Sox organization.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a statement Monday that the team would provide “financial and emotional support” to the Altobelli family, while offering condolences to the loved ones of the other victims of the crash.
Girls basketball coach Christina Mauser was also among the victims of the helicopter crash. She served as an assistant basketball coach at the Harbor Day School, and as an assistant coach at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.
Mauser’s husband, Matt, told NBC’s “TODAY Show” on Monday that his family is heartbroken.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I’ve got three small kids, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom.”
The pilot on the helicopter was Ara Zobayan, according to multiple news outlets.
According to Federal Aviation Agency records, Zobayan had been a licensed commercial pilot for more than a decade. He was also certified to fly under instrument flight rules, which permitted him to fly in poor weather conditions, and certified as an instructor.
Jared Yochim, a fellow pilot and a close friend of Zobayan’s, said in a Facebook post that he was “an incredible pilot” and “a great man.”
Darren Kemp, one of Zobayan’s flight students, told The Los Angeles Times that the pilot was close with Bryant.
“(Kobe) doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara,” Kemp told the newspaper.
Sarah and Payton Chester
Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton, were also aboard the helicopter, the family confirmed in a statement distributed by St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, where Payton was a student.
“Sarah and Payton were the lights of our family,” the Chester family said in the statement.
“Payton had a smile and personality that would light any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches.
“Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us.”
The Chesters also offered condolences to the families of the other victims, and asked for privacy to grieve.