STATEN ISLAND, New York ― Silive.com reported the sad news that Kobe Bryant, retired NBA star who enjoyed a storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died, along with his daughter, in addition to seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California located in Los Angeles County. Bryant was 41 when he died; his daughter was only thirteen. The helicopter pilot and six other passengers, both adults and children, all died upon impact. Reports suggest that Bryant was flying his daughter and the others in his private helicopter from an airport near his home in Orange County, California to his basketball academy for practice. Reports also indicate that Bryant often chose to fly in helicopters to get around the notoriously bad vehicular traffic in Southern California.
Officials from various agencies flocked to the scene of the crash in the Calabasas hills, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, Los Angeles County Fire Department members, investiture with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to collect the remains of the victims and gather evidence from the crash.
The first report of an emergency came into the LA County Fire Department around 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The Fire Chief said that a 911 call alerted the department to the possibility of a crash and resulting brush fire. The Fire Chief said that his crews arrived on the scene shortly after the call and confronted a brush fire that spread to about one-quarter of one acre. Magnesium from the aircraft fuselage made the fire difficult to extinguish. Additionally, fire crews had to hike into the hills to reach the wreckage. Paramedics also reported to the scene as did airborne paramedics in case crews on foot could not reach the downed aircraft.
The FAA and NTSB continue to investigate the incident. Heavy fog in the area is suspected by many to be the cause of the tragedy.
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