Coroner Officially Identifies Kobe Bryant and 3 Other Victims of Helicopter Crash Using Fingerprints

On Tuesday it was revealed that the bodies of the nine victims of the Calabasas helicopter crash have been recovered from the hillside site

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has officially identified Kobe Bryant and 3 other victims of the horrific Calabasas helicopter crash.

The Coroner’s office made the announcement on Tuesday, explaining in a press release that the bodies of Bryant, 41, John Altobelli, 56, Sarah Chester, 46, and Ara Zobayan, 50, were identified through “the use of fingerprints.”

“Investigators identified three men and one woman who were on the aircraft,” the release states.

At this time, the Coroner’s Office is working to identify the remaining 5 victims, which includes Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

The news comes just a few hours after the Coroner’s Office released a statement saying the bodies of all nine victims had been recovered from the hillside site.

“On Sunday afternoon, personnel from the department’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) recovered three bodies from the helicopter wreckage located in the 4200 block of Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas,” the release said. “The next day, the search continued for the other six helicopter occupants. Soon after, their bodies were located, removed from the crash site and transported to the department’s Forensic Science Center.”

Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant. Allen Berezovsky/Getty

The victims of Sunday’s crash have already been identified by friends or family. Sarah and her daughter Payton of Orange County were also on board the aircraft, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School confirmed in a memo obtained by PEOPLE. The school said Payton was enrolled in eighth grade and Sarah served on its board of trustees.

Another passenger, Christina Mauser, was a girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Orange County and a coach for Bryant’s Mamba Academy. Her husband Matt confirmed the tragic news, writing on Facebook, “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”

Christina Mauser
Christina Mauser. Facebook

John, who was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was on board alongside wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli, the school confirmed in a statement on their website.

The helicopter was piloted by Zobayan of Huntington Beach, California, PEOPLE confirmed. “He was as skilled and as talented as a pilot as you could get. With him, it was always safety first and above and beyond that, he was doing what he loved,” fellow pilot Adam Alexander told PEOPLE.

A source told PEOPLE that Zobayan was “extremely experienced” as a pilot. “He had a lot of respect for flying and would never take risks.

The private helicopter was reportedly headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna, Payton, Alyssa, and their teammates before it crashed.

Payton and Sarah Chester
Payton and Sarah Chester. Facebook
Ara Zobayan
Ara Zobayan.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the cause of the crash, which happened under extremely foggy conditions. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Josh Rubenstein said that visibility was so low Sunday morning that the department grounded its helicopters.

According to the NTSB — which released b-roll footage from the crash site on Tuesday — the impact broke the helicopter into pieces. A debris field was left, stretching about 500 to 600 feet, the NTSB’s Jennifer Homendy said during a press conference Monday.

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