Remembering the nine helicopter crash victims


On Jan. 26, a helicopter crash in Los Angeles killed 9 people, including retired Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant. Bryant deserves to be grieved and remembered by the public, however, the other victims of the crash are not receiving enough attention. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

 On Sunday, Jan. 26,  a helicopter crash in Los Angeles resulted in the deaths of 9 people. One death hit the nation especially hard: the loss of basketball legend and retired Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant.


   News headlines and social media feeds have been flooded with messages mourning the loss of Bryant, as well as his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.


   But who were the seven other victims? And why is the public not grieving them, too?


   The helicopter was on its way to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility co-founded by Bryant. Along with Bryant and his daughter, the helicopter also carried several of Gianna’s fellow teammates and their parents, as well as a coach for the team.


   Kobe Bryant’s fame and legacy led to people across the country mourning the tragic loss and sending support to the Bryant family. However, the other victims of the crash deserve attention as well. These losses are equally devastating for their families and loved ones, and should be treated the same way.


   In addition to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, the other seven victims of the crash were John, Keri, and Alysaa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan.


   John Altobelli was the baseball coach at Orange Coast College. In his 27 years as the coach, he led the team to over 700 victories and four California state community college championships. His wife Keri and daughter Alyssa also died in the crash. Alyssa played on the same basketball team as Gianna Bryant.


   Payton Chester was a teammate of Gianna and Alyssa. Her mother, Sarah Chester, also died in the crash. In a statement, the family shared that Payton and Sarah were “the lights of our family.”


   Christina Mauser was the top assistant coach of the girls’ basketball team at the Mamba Sports Academy, and a mother of three. In an interview with the Today show after the tragedy, her husband Matt Mauser said, “It’s horrible. I’ve got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom.”


   Ara Zobayan was Kobe Bryant’s private pilot and a flight instructor. One of his flight students,  Darren Kemp, said to the Los Angeles Times that Zobayan was a “dedicated, caring instructor who wanted to help his students succeed.


   Kobe Bryant was a legendary athlete and someone who should be remembered. But we must not forget the other victims.