LOS ANGELES, USA – Investigators have recovered the bodies of all 9 people who died in the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, the coroner’s office said Tuesday, January 28 (Wednesday, January 29, Philippine time).
Three bodies were retrieved from the scattered wreckage by a special response team Sunday – the day of the crash. The remaining 6 were located as the search resumed in rugged terrain Monday, it said.
The remains were “removed from the crash site and transported to the department’s forensic science center” for examination and identification, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a statement.
The death of Bryant – a five-time NBA champion for the LA Lakers and double Olympic gold medalist – has shocked the world, with tributes continuing to pour in.
A petition for the NBA logo to be redesigned with Bryant’s likeness had reached two million signatures by Tuesday afternoon.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed to AFP that a tribute to Bryant would be included in next month’s Oscars ceremony telecast.
The star, who won an Academy Award in 2018 for animated short film Dear Basketball, had been honored with a moment’s silence at the Oscars nominees luncheon on Monday.
Bryant, 41, was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 other passengers and crew when the Sikorsky S-76 slammed into a hillside in thick fog in Calabasas, northwest of LA.
The helicopter was headed to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where his daughter was set to play.
Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, described the accident scene as “pretty devastating,” with wreckage spread across about 600 feet (180 meters).
Investigators are set to remain at the site of the crash throughout the week to collect evidence, hoping to find clues to what caused the crash.
Medical examiners are “actively working on” identifying the individual remains before officially notifying next of kin.
The other passengers on the flight have been named as baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, who played basketball at the same club as Gianna.
Christina Mauser, an assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team, was also killed along with Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter.
Mourning fans on Tuesday placed bouquets of flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the gated community in Newport Beach, south of Los Angeles, where the late NBA great lived.
And the NBA postponed Tuesday’s Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Basketball superstar LeBron James said he was “heartbroken and devastated” over Bryant’s death in an emotional Instagram post, while also vowing to continue his friend’s championship legacy with the Lakers.
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic donned a tracksuit bearing Bryant’s initials and shirt numbers at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.
With the crash site becoming a pilgrimage point for fans, police on horseback and all-terrain vehicles have been brought in to secure the area. – Rappler.com