Bodies of all 9 victims recovered from helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, coroner says

Investigators are still working on identifying the victims.

January 28, 2020, 7:43 PM

The remains of all of the victims who were aboard the ill-fated helicopter that went down Sunday, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others, have been recovered from the crash site in Calabasas, California, according to officials.

Three of the bodies were recovered from the helicopter wreckage Sunday afternoon and the remaining victims were located and removed from the crash site on Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced.

Investigators are still working on identifying all of the victims, according to the coroner's office.

PHOTO: LA county firefighters on the scene of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, Calif., Jan. 26, 2020.
LA county firefighters on the scene of a helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, Calif., Jan. 26, 2020.
Gene Blevins/Reuters

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were on the Sikorsky S-76B aircraft when it left Orange County Sunday and crashed on a steep hillside in Calabasas just before 10 a.m.

The L.A. coroner officially identified four of those killed in the crash Tuesday, including Bryant, as well as pilot Ara Zobayan and passengers John Altobelli and Sarah Chester.

The chopper was headed to a game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, along with others connected to the basketball program. All of the passengers are believed to have died instantly when the helicopter slammed into the mountains northwest of Los Angeles.

"It was a pretty devastating accident scene," National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said at a press conference Monday evening.

PHOTO: Firefighters work the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant, Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif.
Firefighters work the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant, Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif.
Mark J. Terrill/AP

It is unclear what caused the crash. A federal investigation into why pilot Ara Zobayan took flight despite the foggy weather is underway.

In a National Transportation Safety briefing Tuesday afternoon, an official said the helicopter was only about "20 to 30 feet" from avoiding the mountain where it crashed.

The NTSB said the helicopter descended at a very high rate of speed, but were unable to say yet whether the dive was recoverable. Officials said an iPad and cellphone were recovered from the site.

Homendy said the NTSB held a briefing Tuesday afternoon with family members of those killed in the accident, but would not discuss who was on the call or any details out of respect for the families.

ABC News' Alex Stone contributed to this report.

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