Basketball legend Kobe Bryant is among nine people who died in a helicopter crash in the wealthy Southern California residential neighborhood of Calabasas, ABC News has confirmed.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died alongside her father, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
There were no survivors in the crash around 10 a.m. local time Sunday, fire officials said in a press conference. The names of the other victims, which includes six additional passengers and the pilot, will not be publicly identified until next-of-kin are notified, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters.
“God bless their souls,” Villanueva said, adding that members from the coroner’s office are on their way to assist in the recovery of the remains.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances, a spokesperson from the National Transportation Safety Board told ABC News. Firefighters worked to contain the quarter-acre brush fire that resulted, which was difficult to extinguish due to the presence of magnesium, which reacts to oxygen and water, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby told reporters.
The debris from the aircraft was scattered on steep terrain, Osby said. Paramedics on board an air ambulance were hoisted down to the scene but were not able to locate any survivors, he added.
Witnesses who were mountain biking in the area saw the helicopter in distress, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda told reporters. It is not known whether the pilot alerted over radio that the aircraft was in distress, Imbrenda said.