LOS ANGELES — The pilot flying Kobe Bryant and seven others to a youth basketball tournament did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, and all nine sustained immediately fatal injuries when their helicopter slammed into a hillside outside Los Angeles in January, according to autopsies released on Friday (Saturday in Manila) the Associated Press newswire said.
One of the most popular sports figures in Los Angeles and a celebrity around the globe, Bryant was broken beyond recognition when his body was found outside the wreckage of the chopper, his remains had to be identified by his fingerprints.
The report made it clear: Bryant and the passengers almost certainly were dead in an instant due to blunt trauma.
“These injuries are rapidly if not instantly fatal,” wrote Juan Carrillo, senior deputy medical examiner, in Bryant’s report.
The crash that killed the 41-year-old retired Los Angeles Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna — clad in the jersey she would have worn to play that morning, with the word “Mamba” on the front and her last name on the back — pilot Ara Zobayan and the others is considered accidental.
Bryant was headed from his Orange County home to his daughter’s tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks on the morning of Jan. 26. The group, including one of his daughter’s coaches, and two of her teammates, encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. (ia/Courtesy by AP)