Emergency responders raced to the scene after the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and others, including his daughter, crashed into a hillside and burst into flames. Dispatch audio, obtained by The Blast, showcases the coordinated effort by firefighters, sheriff and paramedics to try and rescue any of the possible survivors.
Reports of the crashed Sikorksy S-76B were called into authorities around 10 AM on Sunday, and emergency responders immediately jumped into action. Unfortunately, the crash started a brush fire in the surrounding area, so officials were forced to proceed with extreme caution.
The brush fire covered about an acre, and the wreckage was too severe at the time to even confirm a tail number on the aircraft. It was also noted that there could be a possible “magnesium fire,” which would make it harder for firefighters to put out the blaze, as the chemical fire burns much easier with air. Other first responders identified multiple “DOA” from their vantage point in the sky, however, they were unable to confirm an exact number until the ground units were able to begin their investigation.
During a joint press conference by sheriff and fire department officials, they revealed that 9 people had perished during the helicopter crash. Officials refused to name Kobe Bryant or his daughter, GiGi, and said that it would not be appropriate to reveal any identities until everything is confirmed and family members have been notified. It was originally believed that 5 people were aboard the helicopter, so it was shocking news to many that another 4 passengers were onboard and also died.
The helicopter was reportedly traveling from his home in Newport Beach to the Black Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. Gigi was scheduled for a practice session with her basketball team.
The death of Kobe and GiGi has been addressed by scores of fans and stars, and former President Barack Obama has already released a touching tribute, as he and Michelle knew the Bryants well.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”