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16 May, 2020 12:50

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna died instantly in January helicopter crash, says autopsy report

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna died instantly in January helicopter crash, says autopsy report

Basketball icon Kobe Bryant along with eight others died upon impact when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed into a Los Angeles hillside in January, according to the official inquest into the fatal accident.

The autopsy report conducted by the Los Angeles County coroner's office also confirmed that the pilot had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, but goes into grim detail in its determination of blunt force trauma for the loss of all nine souls. 

Bryant, the world famous sports star, could only be identified by fingerprints after his body was found. His remains were found in dirt surrounding the wreckage of the helicopter.

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"These injuries are rapidly if not instantly fatal," senior deputy medical examiner Juan Carrillo wrote. 

The report also details that Bryant's teenage daughter Gianna was wearing the jersey of the basketball team she represented, with the word 'Mamba' emblazoned across the front and her last name on the back. Los Angeles Lakers' legend Bryant, who was 41 at the time of his death, was affectionately known as the 'Black Mamba' throughout his playing career. 

Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser all died alongside the two members of the Bryant family and the pilot.

Investigations into the crash determined that pilot Ara Zobayan encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley. He climbed sharply to escape from it, but the aircraft swung to the left and he lost control. The helicopter then plunged into the woodland below.

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The helicopter was traveling at a rate of 184 miles per hour upon impact and descended at a speed of 4,000 feet per minute. The crash caused a significant crater and the wreckage was engulfed in flames. It was determined that burn injuries detected on the occupants happened post-mortem.

Bryant's body was badly injured but he was recognized initially by multicolored basketball shoes he was wearing. This was later confirmed by fingerprint analysis. His daughter was found in a ravine on the opposite side of the crash site.

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A further report into the specifics of the accident is expect in the coming months but the National Transportation Safety Board has not concluded that the pilot experienced a technical malfunction.

Vanessa Bryant, widow of the deceased star, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Zobayan was negligent in his decision to fly through fog. She has also begun to initiate legal proceedings against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after several deputies allegedly distributed photographs of the crash site.