LOS ANGELES, USA – Filipino-American girls basketball coach Christina Mauser was among the 9 victims of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter on Sunday, January 26.
Mauser’s nationality was confirmed by ABS-CBN’s North America bureau, through her cousin Melanie Ramil.
Bryant tapped the 38-year-old to teach defense in Gianna Bryant’s Mamba Academy basketball team.
Her husband Matt opened up about his family situation on both social media and to media outlets.
“I got 3 small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with 3 kids and no mom,” Matt told NBC News.
The couple are both basketball coaches in Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, California.
NBA legend Bryant, 41, died in the crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna as they were heading from his residence in Orange County to a youth basketball academy – Mamba Academy – northwest of Los Angeles.
John Altobelli, 56, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, also died in the crash along with his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa.
The college confirmed their deaths in a statement.
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” the college’s athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family.”
Mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester lived in Orange County and died in the crash, family and friends said.
“They had to get on the helicopter as a convenience today. They usually drove by car,” Payton’s grandmother Catherine George told NBC.
Ara Zobayan, a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, was flying Bryant’s private chopper when it crashed into a hillside near Los Angeles and burst into flames, according to media report and tributes posted online.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that boarded the 9 victims slammed into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com