A small memorial dedicated to the victims of the helicopter crash, carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa as well as four others, which occurred near Los Angeles on Sunday. - Mark J. Terrill / AP / SIPA
Rescue workers found and evacuated the bodies of the nine people on board the helicopter carrying basketball player Kobe Bryant, who crashed on a hill near Los Angeles on Sunday, the county medical examiner's services announced on Tuesday .
Three bodies had already been "removed from the debris of the helicopter" on the day of the crash, they said in a statement. “The next day, searches for the six other occupants continued. Shortly after, the bodies were located, removed from the accident site and transported to the "center of forensic medicine," they say.
Identification of victims
"Investigators are currently working to identify the deceased" and the services of the Los Angeles County coroner will communicate the identities "as soon as they have been verified and the families notified," the text concludes. Even if it was not officially disclosed, the list of victims of the accident was already known.
Besides Kobe Bryant, 41, NBA star who retired in 2016, and his daughter Gianna, 13, the other victims are a baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa who played basketball in the same club as Gianna, Christina Mauser, assistant coach of the two teenage girls' basketball team, Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
An accidental maneuver
The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B, on board of which were the nine victims, crashed shortly before 10:00 (18:00 GMT) Sunday, when a thick fog enveloped the region. He had taken off from Newport Beach (about 60 km south of Los Angeles), where Bryant resided, in the direction of the Mamba Academy, a sports center owned by the star located 135 km away.
Authorities and experts seem for the moment to favor an accidental maneuver linked to the fog rather than possible mechanical problems. The aircraft did not have a black box because it was not necessary on this type of helicopter. Investigators at the US agency responsible for transportation safety (NTSB) spoke of "a truly terrible accident scene" where the debris is scattered over nearly 200 meters.
NBA game postponement
Given the affliction that strikes the Lakers, Bryant's lifelong club, the NBA announced the postponement of the derby originally planned for Tuesday at the Staples Center, which was to oppose the Clippers, the other club in Los Angeles.
A very rare decision in the NBA, which canceled a match between the Celtics and Indiana in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing, and others in 1963 after the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
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- Kobe Bryant