NBA Legend and Daughter Die in Helicopter Accident


Paul Bereswill

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 21: Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, watch an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks on December 21, 2019 at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Nets won 122-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Raheemat Alade, Media Editor

On January 26, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on their way to a youth basketball tournament.

The helicopter dropped at a speed of about 23 miles per hour and slammed into the hill in a “high-energy impact crash,” according to the N.T.S.B. Before the crash, the radar data reported that the helicopter was going about 152 miles per hour on it’s way to the destination.

No one knows why it fell at such a quick rate. The aircraft crashed into the hillside at 1,085 feet after rising to 2,300 feet. It may have missed clearing the top of the hill where it wanted to land.

It’s still unknown whether the lack of a warning system played a role in the crash. The helicopter was not carrying a cockpit voice recorder, but an iPad and cellphone were found in the accident.

On February 3rd, the Los Angeles County Fire Department released the audio from five 911 calls it received at the time of the fatal crash.

One of the callers who didn’t see the helicopter, but heard a crash said, “I’m walking on the trail, I could hear the plane. I think it was in the clouds,” the caller said. “We couldn’t see it and then we just heard a boom and a dead sound and then I could see the flames.”

The helicopter carrying Bryant and eight others had been given special permission to fly despite foggy conditions, according to a report from the New York Times. Due to the severe weather, the helicopter was flying low, according to CNN, who reported, “At one point, an air traffic controller informed the pilot, ‘You’re still too low for flight following at this time,’” meaning the helicopter wasn’t flying high enough to register on the radar.

Law enforcement is still investigating many possibilities of the cause of the crash such as mechanical failure.

When the news came out on Sunday, TMZ was the first to report tweeting, “BREAKING: Kobe Bryant Has Died In A Helicopter Crash.” This made many people confused and they didn’t believe it happened.

But as soon as it was confirmed by investigators, the whole world was in shock. People from the ages of 5 to 70 were retweeting, posting and sending their thoughts and prayers.

Agua Fria senior Rene Aguirre tweeted to TMZ’s post, “Literally this was the man I looked up to. He was my idol. I’ve watched millions of Kobe motivation videos to help myself when I was at my lowest. He showed me how to play with fire when I played. He showed me how to be confident. He showed me things I would never learn on my own.”

Junior Nathaniel Negron also tweeted, “Kobe flipping Bryant bro, there’s literally no flipping way.”

Soon enough news sources everywhere were reporting every second after the crash.

However, many news sources weren’t reporting the correct information.

ABC journalist Matt Gutman reported that sources had told him all four of Bryant’s daughters had been with him on board the helicopter. That report was later revealed to be false and afterwards he was fired for false information.

Many sources quickly tried to find out all the amount of people and the names of those who died. At first, it was just heard to be Bryant who died. Later his daughter Gianna Bryant was reported to be with him and the rest unknown. By the next day, it was confirmed that nine people were on the helicopter and no one survived the crash.

Photo Credit:  Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Along with Bryant (41) and Gigi (13), the bodies of Payton Chester (13), Sarah Chester (45), Alyssa Altobelli (14), Keri Altobelli (46), John Altobelli (56), Christina Mauser (38) and the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan (50), were found in the ashes of the helicopter fire. All nine bodies were released to the families on February 4.

According to the coroner’s office, the cause of death for all nine victims was determined to be blunt force trauma, and the manner of death was certified as an accident.

Days after the crash, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant finally released a statement to the public on Instagram. She thanked millions of people for their support and love. Then talked about how amazing her husband and daughter were and she misses him and their baby girl.

She said, “But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.“

Since his death people all over have been showing their grief. People are creating paints and art dedicated to him and have been wearing either his jersey or wearing purple and yellow to honor him. The Staples Center, where Bryant played while he was with the Los Angeles Lakers, is filled with jerseys, basketballs, candles and so much more.

Many celebrities such as Lizzo and Lebron James paid their tributes to the late player and his daughter. Now we say goodbye to the man that changed and inspired basketball for everyone.

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Young or old, people loved Kobe Bryant. Many followed him from the start of his career to his retirement. He will never be forgotten in the NBA, in the world, or in our hearts.