The Others Killed When Kobe's Helicopter Went Down

7 others died in Calabasas crash
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2020 12:42 PM CST
The Others Lost When Kobe's Helicopter Went Down
Orange Coast College students and friends of baseball coach John Altobelli lay flowers at home plate at the Orange Coast College baseball field in Costa Mesa on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.   (Leonard Ortiz/The Orange County Register via AP)

(Newser) – Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were just two of the nine people who died Sunday when the helicopter they were riding in went down in the hills just outside Los Angeles, killing everyone on board, as it was en route to a basketball tournament at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. The seven others who lost their lives, per the New York Times, CNN, Today, NBC Los Angeles, and CBS Los Angeles:

  • John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa: John had coached baseball at a Costa Mesa junior college, Orange Coast College, for 28 years; his daughter was a teammate of Gianna's. "John was a tremendous coach and an even better friend," the college's athletic director says. "Beyond that, he was an amazing mentor to all of the students and athletes that he taught and coached. He treated them all like family and his impact will live on forever." Alyssa's uncle says she was an "unbelievable basketball player, kind of moving up the ranks a little bit." The family is survived by another daughter and a son.

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  • Sarah Chester and daughter Payton: The mother and daughter lived in Orange County, and the eighth-grader was another one of Gianna's teammates. "While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important," wrote the principal of Payton's elementary school. "Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken." Payton's grandmother says the 13-year-old "loved playing for Kobe Bryant," who "was a great coach." The mother and daughter are survived by Chester's twin sons, one of whom wrote on Instagram, "Rest In Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom RIP."
  • Christina Mauser: The 38-year-old former basketball coach and physical education teacher at Orange County's Harbor Day School coached the eighth-grade girls' basketball team to its first championship in 2017, when Gianna Bryant was one of two sixth-graders playing on the team. "My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash," her husband, who also coached the team, wrote. They have three children together. Mauser more recently worked as a coach at Bryant's sports academy.
  • Ara Zobayan: The helicopter pilot and certified flight instructor had at least two decades of experience. One of his flight students says Zobayan was Bryant's private pilot: "He doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara." "Ara was an incredible pilot, instructor pilot, charter pilot and truly a great man," wrote one of his friends on Facebook. "He was not your typical egotistical helicopter pilot like most of us honestly are. Ara was a man that always remained cool, calm and collected."
(Read more Kobe Bryant stories.)

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