Horrifying: Photos of Kobe helicopter wreckage released, all bodies recovered

Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna who was also killed in the tragic crash. Photo: USA TODAY Sports.

Horrifying pictures of investigators picking through the Kobe Bryant helicopter wreckage highlight the full extent of the deadly impact of the crash.

Only a small section of the Sikorsky S-76 chopper appears intact, while fire scorched debris and mounds of ash are seen strewn in and around a crater in the California hillside where it came down on Sunday morning.

There are also tires and mechanisms in and around the centralized wreckage, with pieces of the helicopter said to have spread as far as the length of a football pitch.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators, wearing surgical masks as they inspect the wreckage are seen close up while footage from an overhead drone puts the crash site into perspective.

An investigator is seen leaning over into the mounds of wreckage and she is then seen inspecting a piece on the perimeter of the site.

It is currently unclear what exactly caused the crash, with the helicopter coming down in heavy fog. Photo: NTSB.

In addition to Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, three other families linked to the Mamba Sports Academy perished on their way to a girls' basketball tournament: husband and wife John and Keri Altobelli with their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton; and basketball coach and mum Christina Mauser.

The ninth victim was the pilot, Ara Zobayan, an experienced former flight instructor who was instrument-rated, or qualified to fly in fog, according to multiple media accounts.

Also killed in the crash were Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was one of Gianna's teammates. Photo: Instagram.

Los Angeles County coroner's investigators, working alongside aviation NTSB inspectors, with coroners confirming on Monday all the bodies have been recovered.

The remains were "removed from the crash site and transported to the department's forensic science centre" for examination and identification, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said in a statement.

"Currently, investigators are actively working on identifying the decedents. Additionally, body examinations are in progress.

"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."

Bryant's body has been formally identified today, after investigators used fingerprints to identify the 41-year-old, along with two other men and a woman, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner said in a statement.

Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna's body has not been identified.

The bodies of all the nine victims of the crash near Calabasa have now been recovered, say coroners. Photo: NTSB.

It is believed that investigators are currently focusing on the weather conditions, trying to establish whether the foggy conditions were the cause behind the tragic incident, or whether they may have been a mechanical fault with the aircraft.

The company that owns the chopper, Island Express Helicopters, said the pilot had more than 10 years’ experience and has logged more than 8,000 flight hours.

The chopper is said to have caught fire after going down, as emergency services battled in vain to save those on board.

Audio between the pilot and air traffic controllers reveals he was given permission to fly under special visual flight rules or SVFR, despite the treacherous fog.

But he was forced to circle for a quarter of an hour while the air space was cleared by controllers.

Drone footage helps to put the crash site into perspective, in the valley between the Santa Monica Mountains. Photo: NTSB.
Debris from spread as far as the length of a football pitch, though much of it is focused around a crater, created on impact. Photo: NTSB.


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