The crash that reportedly took the life of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant resulted in more deaths than first announced. The death toll at the scene is up to nine, The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a press conference Sunday afternoon. Investigators originally had the number at five.
To be very clear, none of the victims have been officially identified, but it is widely reported that father and daughter died in the crash.
BREAKING UPDATE: The sheriff says they’re waiting for the coroner to arrive on the scene. They now say there were nine people on board. They are not identifying anyone by name until the coroner confirms their identities and notified next of kin.
— Lindsey Mastis (@LindseyMastis) January 26, 2020
Confirmation of the deaths come from sources cited by TMZ, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli also died in the incident, according to the Orange County Register.
At first, there was scuttlebutt online that Rick Fox, a retired NBA star who played on the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant, also died. That has been repeatedly debunked.
Can confirm former @lakers star Rick Fox WAS NOT among the passengers on the helicopter with Kobe Bryant. Source: his daughter.
— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) January 26, 2020
Rick Fox’s attorney confirms Fox was NOT on board the helicopter with Kobe Bryant. That is a bogus report bouncing around Twitter.
— Jake Seiner (@Jake_Seiner) January 26, 2020
The helicopter took off from Orange County, and crashed in the hills above Calabasas, according to sources cited by The Los Angeles Times. The aircraft burst into flames. The incident reportedly happened right before 10 a.m. local time.
[Image of Kobe and Gianna Bryant in 2018 via Harry How/Getty Images]