LA County: Recovery Ongoing in Helicopter Crash; Kobe Bryant, 8 Others Killed

CALABASAS, Calif. — Law enforcement officials worked on recovery efforts after a helicopter crash that killed nine people Sunday near Calabasas, Calif.

According to a statement from the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was among those killed.

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The helicopter crashed near Calabasas, Calif. at 9:47 a.m. PST, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

The next priority after recovery is victim identification and giving closure to the families involved, said Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas.

After an initial report from the sheriff’s department that five people were confirmed dead, Sheriff Alex Villaneuva stated in a 2:30 p.m. PST press briefing that nine people were on board and no one survived.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world,” said the NBA in their statement confirming the death of 41-year-old Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

The area near the crash site is off limits to everyone except first responders, and Villanueva said Sunday night they continued to work on getting people away from the area.

Those who wish to pay respects and mourn the deaths of the passengers were asked to visit de Anza Park in Calabasas.

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career in the NBA with the Lakers, playing 1,346 games with the team before retiring in 2016.

In a tweet, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called him “a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court.”

In the wake of Bryant’s death, fans have gathered in the area around the Staples Center in Downtown L.A.