Nine people were on board when the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter crashed — no one survived
It’s been a heartbreaking night and morning as details continue to emerge in the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people. Their identities have all been confirmed, and each leaves behind devastated family and friends.
Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, were all on board at the time of the crash. They leave behind two other children, a son and daughter. Alyssa played basketball with Gianna and the helicopter was headed to one of their team’s games before it crashed.
The OCC community is mourning Coach Altobelli, who would’ve begun his 28th season just this week.
“It’s hard to put into words what this loss means to the college and the athletics department,” OCC Athletics Director Jason Kehler said in a statement obtained by CNN. “John was a tremendous coach and an even better friend. Beyond that, he was an amazing mentor to all of the students and athletes that he taught and coached. He treated them all like family and his impact will live on forever.”
Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at a K-8 private school in Orange County, was also among the victims. Her husband Matt took to Facebook with a heartbreaking statement.
“My kids and I are devastated,” he wrote.”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.”
Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton were passengers as well. Todd Schmidt, principal at the elementary school Payton once attended, released a statement about the grief he’s feeling at their untimely deaths. “While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important…their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”
Pilot Ara Zobayan also died. He is being remembered as a skilled pilot who taught others to fly and “was very much loved in the aviation community.”
Bryant and his daughter, by all accounts, were close and enjoyed basketball together. A viral moment just last month captured the father and daughter having a little breakdown of the game.
Last November, Kobe shared video of Gianna playing against Alyssa Altobelli, noting both Altobelli’s skill at defense and giving Gigi a nod for successful fade. These were talented young women with undoubtedly bright futures, which only adds to the colossal heartbreak being felt all over the world today.