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The LATEST On the Death of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant

WNBA All-Star Game 2019

WHAT WE KNOW regarding the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna: They were among the nine passengers who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash Sunday in the hills of Calabasas, California.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted that girls basketball coach Christina Mauser was among the victims. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa were also in the helicopter (Alyssa was a teammate of Gianna's). Peyton Chester, another teammate, and her mom Sarah lost their lives in the crash, as did the pilot.

Witnesses say Kobe's private helicopter sputtered in the air and hit the ground with an explosion. One witness said: "It [didn't] sound right and it was real low. I saw it falling and spluttering. But it was hard to make out as it was so foggy." The helicopter then disappeared into fog before the blast. There was a big fireball..."

The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, built in 1991, left John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana at 9:06am; Kobe and his daughter were apparently going to the Mamba Academy in Thousands Oaks for basketball practice. 

Law enforcement sources say the pilot ran into trouble almost immediately after takeoff. It was so foggy over Los Angeles ... SO foggy that the Los Angeles Police Department Air Support was grounded. Flight tracker data also shows Bryant's helicopter first ran into weather issues just above the Los Angeles Zoo, when it was only around 875 feet in the air. It circled over the area at least six times, for approximately 15 minutes.

Our sources tell us this morning that the investigation into the helicopter crash will most likely focus on foggy weather conditions and potential mechanical problems.

Sources: LA Times, ABC News, TMZ, ESPN.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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