A week after the tragic crash, the remains of Kobe Bryant, Gigi and others are released to their families
While the loved ones of some of the victims have a sense of closure, three of the nine continue to be unaccounted for
The remains of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and four of the other nine people killed in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, have been released to their families, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
READ MORE: Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash
In addition to Bryant and Gigi, the remains of Christina Mauser, 38; Sarah Chester, 45, and her daughter Payton, 13; and pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50, were released to their families. The bodies of the three remaining victims, John Altobelli, 56; his wife, Keri Altobelli, 46; and their 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa — have not yet been released, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The helicopter was transporting Bryant, 41, his daughter, other players and parents to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a girls’ basketball game. The girls were teammates on the same basketball team, which Bryant and Mauser coached.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the crash and may offer an initial report next week. A final report could take as long as a year to be complete, according to the Times. The NTSB had previously recommended that helicopters be equipped with a safety feature known as a terrain warning system, which could have saved the passengers on board.
The day the crash occurred was so foggy that the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division grounded all of its helicopters until later in the day, LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein told the Los Angeles Times.
Zobayan, the pilot of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, asked flight controllers to keep track of the helicopter. When the chopper dipped too low, flight controllers radioed him to tell him. Zobayan ascended the aircraft 765 feet in 36 seconds, giving him enough clearance to pass some nearby hills. The NTSB is investigating what occurred next, when the helicopter suddenly descended rapidly, dropping 325 feet in 14 seconds and crashing, killing everyone on impact.
The remains of the deceased were released as Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, works with the Lakers organization and Los Angeles civic leaders to put together a public memorial to honor the basketball star and his daughter.