The bodies of all nine victims on Kobe Bryant’s helicopter have been recovered.
Recovery efforts were difficult due to the location of the crash, but investigators were able to reach the crash site by ATV on Monday and recover three bodies.
“The search continued for the other six helicopter occupants. Soon after, their bodies were located, removed from the crash site and transported to the department’s Forensic Science Center,” the coroner’s office said in a statement. Body examinations will now begin for each victim.
Bryant’s helicopter left Santa Ana shortly after 9 a.m. to go to a basketball game in Thousand Oaks. Investigators believe that poor visibility could have been a factor in the crash as air traffic controllers noted heavy fog in the area that the helicopter was flying in.
The helicopter reportedly circled in an area for a few and a short while later air traffic controllers cleared them to continue. According to ABC 7, “Shortly after 9:40 a.m., the helicopter turned again, toward the southeast, and climbed to more than 2,000 feet. It then descended and crashed into the hillside at about 1,400 feet, according to data from Flightradar24. Data also revealed the chopper lost control about 15 seconds before impact.”
The helicopter was flying at about 184 mph when it hit the ground and was descending at a rate of 4,000 feet per minute.
Bryant was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. His daughter and two teammates that were on the helicopter were set to play in a basketball game that afternoon. Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and his three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation and we will keep you updated with the latest.