Teens, parents among victims of crash that killed Kobe Bryant

Sympathizers at a memorial at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for the victims of the helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of Kobe Bryant and eight others. (AP Photo)
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Updated 27 January 2020

Teens, parents among victims of crash that killed Kobe Bryant

  • Authorities have not yet officially identified all the victims but family and friends have shared their grief in public announcements or postings on social media
  • Ara Zobayan, a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, was flying Bryant’s private chopper when it crashed into a hillside near Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES: A baseball coach, two teenage girls and their parents and the pilot were among the victims of the helicopter crash that killed basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter on Sunday.
Here is what we know so far about the victims.
Authorities have not yet officially identified all the victims but family and friends have shared their grief in public announcements or postings on social media.
Bryant, 41, died in the crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna as they were heading from Orange County, where he lives, to a youth basketball academy — Mamba Academy — northwest of Los Angeles.
John Altobelli, 56, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, died in the crash along with his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa.
The college confirmed their deaths in a statement.
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” the college’s athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “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, 38, was the assistant coach for Gianni Bryant’s Mamba Academy basketball team.
“I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” her husband Matt told NBC news.
Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter, lived in Orange County and died in the crash, family and friends said.
“They had to get on the helicopter as a convenience today, they usually drove by car,” Payton’s grandmother Catherine George told NBC.
Ara Zobayan, a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, was flying Bryant’s private chopper when it crashed into a hillside near Los Angeles and burst into flames, according to media report and tributes posted online.


Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

Updated 01 December 2020

Academic freed in Iran ‘blown away’ by support

SYDNEY: An Australian-British academic released after two years imprisoned in Iran on spying charges said she thanked supporters from the “bottom of my heart” Tuesday, saying they helped her through a “never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.”
In her first statement since arriving back in Australia, Middle East scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert said she was “totally blown away” by efforts from friends and family to secure her release.
“I honestly have no words to express the depth of my gratitude and how touched I am,” the 33-year-old said.
“It gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare. My freedom truly is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!“
Moore-Gilbert was released last week in a swap for three Iranians linked to a botched plot to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.
She was arrested by Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018, after attending an academic conference in the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
She was later charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in jail, allegations she has denied.
arb/mtp