Crash Leaves Hole in the Hearts of Many


Zoe Orechwa, Writer/ Editor

The fatal crash that changed the world. Kobe Bryant was supposed to coach a youth basketball team, the Lady Mambas, at 12 p.m. His daughter Gianna, 13, was on that team. The helicopter was headed to the northern Los Angeles area to the southern Los Angeles suburbs where the game was. A couple of minutes before the crash, the pilot was trying to receive permission on what to do regarding flying through the fog.

SVFR clearance let the pilot fly in the weather conditions that were worse than those that could fly for regular visual flight rules. That Sunday morning, the police department in L.A grounded their helicopters because of low visibility from fog conditions.  With a cloud layer ahead, the pilot told air traffic control what they were heading into, which was the last thing anyone had heard from them. Within seconds, all nine people on board crashed going over 170 mph into the side of mountain. As the helicopter quickly burst into flames, nine lives were lost.

Kobe Bryant, 41–He had a 20-year-career with the Lakers and was an NBA MVP who started when he was only 18. He was married to his wife, Vanessa, for 19 years and they have four daughters, one which passed away with Bryant early Sunday morning. A five-time world champion, 18-time All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, he ranked fourth on the NBA all-time scoring list, but was just passed for third place by LeBron James over the weekend. “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” Bryant’s last tweet says.

Eight others passed away in the crash including his daughter, Gianna. Bryant told The Times last year that she was “something else” on the court. She always told people that even though her father was a professional basketball player, he would not need a son to continue the family’s basketball legacy. Bryant also said that Gianna was better than he was at her age.

John Altobelli, 56; Keri Altobelli, 46; Alyssa Altobelli,13–Alyssa played on the same club team as Gianna Bryant, and died with her mother and father. 

Christina Mauser, 38–Christina was the top assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team.

Ara Zobayan, 50–He was the pilot who had been privately flying with the company for 10+ years. 

Sarah Chester, 45, and Payton Chester, 13–Mother and daughter.

This tragic accident left the world with nothing but tears and a hole inside of the city’s heart. The Lakers pushed back their game a day, and almost every sport sets the ball down for 8 seconds (which was Bryant’s number) or contributes in some way. His best friend, LeBron James, is so heart broken he says he cannot stop crying. All of his team mates cannot sleep, eat, or think. Now, instead of playing with Bryant, they will play for him.