Four people who died in the devastating California helicopter crash on Sunday have been identified by the LA County Coroner’s office.

Over the span of two days, personnel from the department’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) located and recovered the nine bodies from the extensive crash site.


Four people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday have been identified, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced.

On the morning of Jan. 26, nine people were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed along a Calabasas mountainside.

Over the span of two days, personnel from the department’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) located and recovered the nine bodies from the extensive crash site.

Through the use of fingerprints, investigators identified three men and one woman who were on the aircraft.

John Altobelli, DOB: 5/8/63
Kobe Bryant, DOB: 8/23/78
Sarah Chester, DOB: 6/29/74
Ara Zobayan, DOB: 1/2/70
Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining decedents.

The Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner will provide immediate updates on the names of the decedents as soon as they are officially verified and their next of kin have been notified. 

A total of nine people were killed in the accident, and officials are still working on officially identifying the other five.

Multiple conflicting reports have surfaced regarding the identity of the other five people, ranging from Rick Fox to all of Kobe’s four children. The names of the other four victims are said to be Altobelli’s wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, Christina Mause, and Payton Chester.

Meanwhile, investigators have already gathered key evidence from the scene of the crash.


The National Transportation Safety Board has finished its recovery work at the crash site and turned over the scene to local authorities.

“Did we locate all the significant components? Yes,” said NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy. “That indicates to us, preliminary information is the helicopter was in one piece when it impacted the terrain.”

The site remains closed to the public, and it is still a misdemeanor to attempt to access it, as hazardous materials such as fuel and magnesium need to be cleaned up, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

The NTSB expects to issue its first report on the crash in 10 days, but that will focus just on the facts it has determined and not the likely cause of the crash. The investigation into the cause could take 12 to 18 months, officials said.

Officials have determined that the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed just 20 to 30 feet from the top of the hill in the Calabasas area Sunday morning, in an area located 1,085 feet above sea level. The area was a canyon with multiple hills of different elevations surrounding it.

Just prior to the crash, the helicopter was in a steep descent, estimated at 2,000 feet per minute, resulting in a “high-energy impact crash,” NTSB officials said.

“This is a pretty steep descent at high speed,” Homendy said. “It wouldn’t be a normal landing speed.”

Homendy also noted that her agency has in the past recommended safety improvements for helicopters such as this one after previous fatal crashes and those have not been implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

There’s nothing to indicate the crash was anything more than a tragic accident. And although the people lost on that chopper will be sorely missed, their legacy will continue to live on by those who loved them most.