The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has announced that there were eight passengers on the helicopter that crashed on Sunday morning, as well as the pilot. The crash killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The other victims have not yet been identified.
A helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning, just before 10 a.m. PT. Bryant and his daughter were on the flight, the L.A. Sheriff's Department confirmed in a press conference aired by ABC News. Six other remain unidentified.
The press conference included Los Angeles Fire Chief Deryl Osby and Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Osby began by describing how first responders reached the crash site, which was within "approximately a quarter-acre" sized brush fire. With the help of helicopters, they reached the crash site and found no survivors.
"All the passengers onboard were determined to have perished," Chief Osby said.
He then gave the podium to Sheriff Villanueva, who broke the news that there were more passengers on the helicopter than previous reports had said.
"As the chief indicated, there were no survivors. We have a manifest that indicates that there [were] nine people onboard the aircraft," he said. "The pilot, plus eight individuals."
Our hearts go out to you in this extremely difficult time. #LASD— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) January 26, 2020
Villanueva explained that the local sheriff's department is now working closely with various other bureaus, including the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board. He added that the authorities are in no rush to disclose the identities of other victims.
"There has been wide speculation about [what] the identities [of the other victims] are, however it would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name, until the coroner has made the identifications... and they've made notifications to the next of kin," he said.
Villanueva added that it would be "extremely disrespectful" for the families of victims to learn that their loved ones had passed "from TMZ." The sheriff said that the victims would be identified after the coroners had completed their "very deliberative process."
So far, multiple reports indicate that Bryant and his daughter were among those in the accident, including a source who spoke to The Los Angeles Times. TMZ Sports has also reported that baseball coach John Altobelli was onboard. Beyond that, there is no reliable news about the other victims.
Some reports of who the other passengers are have already been dismissed. An early report claimed that NBA veteran and Bryant's former teammate Rick Fox was on the flight, but his family and friends later denied it.
Fans are still holding their breath to learn who the other passengers were.