Nine people are believed to have died in the California helicopter crash that killed basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, authorities revealed Sunday, updating an initial death toll of five.
“We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people on board the aircraft. The pilot plus eight individuals,” said Alex Villanueva, the sheriff of Los Angeles County, in an afternoon press briefing.
Villanueva confirmed that an initial review of the hellish crash scene in the hills of Calabasas appeared to confirm nine bodies among the wreckage.
Officials had initially indicated that there were five people aboard the ill-fated Sikorsky S-76.
There were no survivors in the crash, which occurred around 10 a.m. local time amid heavy fog in the area, according to officials and reports.
The crash sparked a “stubborn” quarter-acre brush fire, which dozens of emergency responders first had to deal with before they could reach the mangled wreck, according to Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Villanueva declined to reveal the identities of the deceased pending an examination by the coroner.
But the dead are confirmed to include Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna.