Public's help sought in federal investigation of deadly chopper crash that killed all nine onboard

Authorities sought the public’s help in the federal investigation of the deadly chopper crash that killed all nine aboard including children, parents, and the pilot. 

The crash victims have been identified by friends and family as Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, and pilot Ara Zobayan. 


Los Angeles County authorities have yet to publicly identify the victims, but confirmed Tuesday afternoon the remains of nine people were recovered from the wreckage site. 

The fiery and fatal crash occurred Sunday at 9:47 a.m. on a hillside in Calabasas, officials said.

Federal investigators continue to look into the circumstances that led to the deadly crash and seek answers as to why exactly the helicopter went down. 

Gianna, Payton, and Alyssa were teammates and were reportedly on the way to Mamba Sports Academy in the Thousand Oaks area from Orange County for the Mamba Cup basketball tournament. 

Among many things, NBA legend Kobe Bryant was known as an advocate for women’s basketball. He coached his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and her team, the Los Angeles Lady Mambas. Gianna wanted to carry her father's basketball legacy. 

John Altobelli,56, was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College for 27 years, school officials said. Keri and John are survived by their children, J.J. and Alexis.

Christina Mauser was a youth basketball coach and leaves behind her husband and three young children. 

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were stationed at the crash site early Tuesday waiting to get back to work. They started the second day of the investigation right as daylight struck in Calabasas. 

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The investigation team includes NTSB meteorologists and data analysts who are working off-site to study the weather conditions at the time of the crash. Investigators are asking anyone who took pictures or videos taken in the general area of the crash site to email them to authorities.

The team also includes specialists in mechanical issues. 

People can email pictures and videos to:

“We always look at the environment, specifically when we have a crash investigation and we really appreciate the public’s assistance. Every time we’ve asked, they always come through. So if anyone has any pictures or videos, please send them in,” NTSB board member Jennifer Homedy said. 

Cyclist Zachary Rynew recorded video on his cell phone to capture the dense fog he noticed during his ride Sunday morning.


“We were really unprepared for how foggy it was. We did not expect to have such low visibility. You could see maybe 50 feet above you, but for some of the peaks above, they completely vanished from your sight,” Rynew said. 

Rynew added that “normally you hear air traffic in the area, but people were definitely avoiding it because visibility was so bad that morning.” 

The three things investigators are focused on are “man, machine, and the environment,” Homendy said. 

NTSB investigators are working side-by-side with forensic investigators with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner as they continue to recover remains of the nine victims. 

Three bodies were recovered from the crash site, the coroner’s office revealed Monday. However, the remains have not been positively identified. 

Urban Search and Rescue crews with the Los Angeles County Fire Department brought in human remains detection dogs, the department said. 

Federal investigators are faced with challenging circumstances as the field of debris spans over 600 feet, which is the size of nearly football fields. The crash site remains closed to the public until further notice. 

Wreckage is expected to be moved a secure facility sometime soon, NTSB officials said. 

NTSB posted a video to YouTube that showed footage taken from the wreckage site Monday. 

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Their work is arduous and meticulous as they continue to document and photograph the scene on the steep hillside. They will also use drones to help map the debris field.

The FBI is also assisting in the investigation.