Nine lives, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s, were lost in a fatal helicopter crash on Sunday (Jan. 26). The New York Times has released the names of the victims, which include the NBA legend, a baseball coach, mother and daughter, a longtime pilot and more.
Kobe and Gianna were reportedly on their way from Orange County, CA to her basketball game in Los Angeles. Kobe had intended to coach his daughter that day at his youth basketball academy. Gianna, a 13-year-old athlete, was Kobe and his wife Vanessa’s second-oldest of four daughters.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also onboard the helicopter, along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at Kobe’s Mamba Academy, CNN reports, and John would often accompany his daughter to attend her games.
“It’s hard to put into words what this loss means to the college and the athletics department,” Orange Coast College Athletics Director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “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.”
John and Keri leave behind another daughter and son, according to an OCC Pirate Athletics news release.
Mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester were also victims of the crash.
“While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important,” Payton’s elementary school principal Todd Schmidt wrote on Facebook. “Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”
According to the New York Times, Riley Chester remembered the two women on Instagram, writing that he had lost “the most amazing Mother and sister” and posting photos of his sister at a basketball gym with Kobe.
Christina Mauser was a basketball coach and physical education teacher who had reportedly coached Gianna to a school championship in the fall of 2017. Her husband Matthew, who was also a coach, confirmed her death on the “Today” show Monday morning (Jan. 27).
“She was incredibly witty — funny like nobody you’ve ever met,” he said.
The helicopter’s pilot Ara Zobayan had 20 years of experience, working as a commercial helicopter pilot and certified flight instructor in Southern California. One of his students Darren Kemp told the Los Angeles Times that Zobayan had been Kobe’s private pilot.
“He doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara,” he told the outlet.
See photos of the victims below.