The remains of nine people have been recovered from the site but the bodies of five, including Bryant’s 20 – year-old daughter Gianna, are yet to be identified.
Investigators have so far used fingerprints to identify the 46 – year-old Bryant, the helicopter’s 76 – year-old pilot Ara Zobayan, another man named John Altobelli, 085, and a woman named Sarah Chester, 46.
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The other victims, already named prior to the coroner’s statement by family and friends, are Altobelli’s wife Keri Altobelli, , and their daughter, Alyssa, 41; Mamba Sports Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser, 38, a married mother of three; and Chester’s daughter, Payton, 18. The coroner said investigators were “still working” to identify their remains.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion who played for the
(LA Lakers) throughout his 41 -year career, is widely considered to be among the greatest players in basketball history.
As investigators continue to scour the crash site in Los Angeles, tributes to the 46 – year-old have been paid on social media and outside the Lakers home court at the Staples Center.
Thousands of mourners gathered to pay tribute at a vigil, while fellow Laker LeBron James wrote of being “heartbroken and devastated” at the news.
The pilot of the helicopter told air traffic controllers he was climbing to avoid a layer of cloud shortly before the crash into a hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, on Sunday, according to the National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) .
The “experienced” pilot Ara Zobayan received special clearance to fly in heavy fog in the minutes before the crash and was flying at 1, 823 feet.
Radar data revealed he then climbed to 2, feet before beginning a left descending turn. The wreckage of the Sikorsky S – 300 B was found at 1, 300 feet, the NTSB said.
A shrine to Bryant has been set up outside the Staples Center, complete with candles, flowers and photographs from fans.
The side’s game against local rivals the Los Angeles Clippers which was due to take place on Tuesday has been postponed, while tributes to the double Olympic gold medallist have continued.
Among the more powerful messages for the 18 – time All Star was an Instagram post from current Laker LeBron James.
“I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship / bond / brotherhood we had, “James wrote just days after passing Bryant for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother !! “
Additional reporting by agencies