Teenage basketball teammates of Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna were among nine killed in the tragic helicopter crash in California on Sunday. Police have not yet released the names of those on board but relatives have confirmed the deaths in tributes to their loved ones. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his teenage daughter Alyssa and wife Keri were killed as well as Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at Bryant’s Mamba Academy. Sarah Chester and her teen daughter Payton are also said to have died when the Sikorsky S-76 crashed and burst into flames. Pilot Ara Zobayan was also killed in the incident. It is understood the group was flying to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for basketball practice. LA Lakers legend Bryant, 41, was expected to coach the practice session, with Gianna, 13, and her teen teammates ready to play.
Tributes poured out online for college baseball coach Altobelli, 56, and his wife and daughter who ‘routinely’ flew with Bryant to attend basketball games. Athletic director of Orange Coast College Jason Kehler said in a statement: ‘John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball. ‘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.’ Christina Mauser, who also worked at the Mamba Academy, was a girls basketball coach at the private elementary Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Gianna was a pupil. Her husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on Facebook: ‘My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash.’
READ Orange County Baseball Coach, his Wife and Daughter died in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant