Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people were likely killed instantly when a helicopter carrying them to an AAU basketball game on Jan. 26 crashed into a hillside in Southern California, according to autopsy results released Friday by Los Angeles County officials.
The county medical examiner-coroner’s office ruled that all nine people on board suffered blunt force trauma and almost certainly died on impact (per the Los Angeles Times, subscription required, and The Associated Press). The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was attempting to maneuver the Sikorsky S-76 through low clouds at the time of the crash in Calabasas, Calif.
The coroner’s office listed accident as the manner of death as it closed its part of the investigation, the Times reported. Federal investigators are still looking into what happened.
Toxicology tests found no illegal substances or alcohol in Zobayan’s system, the Times also reported. Bryant had Ritalin, a drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in his system.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, filed lawsuits in February against Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and Zobayan’s estate, for the wrongful deaths of her husband and daughter. She has also taken preliminary legal steps to sue the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, claiming deputies took unauthorized photos of the crash scene.
Author: Tom Gatto