The pilot flying NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and several others to a youth basketball tournament near Los Angeles in January did not have alcohol or drugs in his system when the helicopter crashed into a hillside, according to autopsy reports released Friday.
The causes of death for all nine people aboard was blunt trauma, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner's office ruled.
The reports described in brutal detail the severity of the January 26 crash, highlighting fractured bones, burned clothing and ravaged body parts.
Victims of the crash were Ara Zobayan, 49, the pilot; Christina Mauser, 38, an assistant basketball coach at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy; John Altobelli, 56, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California; his wife, Keri Altobelli, 46; their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 13; Payton Chester, 13, who played on the academy's basketball teams; and her mother, Sarah Chester, 45.
Earlier this week, Zobayan's brother claimed in court documents that the pilot shouldn't be held responsible. The documents, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in response to a wrongful death suit from the NBA star's widow, Vanessa Bryant, claimed that Kobe Bryant knew of the risks of flying in a helicopter and chose to anyway.
In her suit, which was filed Feb. 24, Vanessa Bryant claimed that Zobayan and the company he worked for, Island Express Helicopters, put their Sikorsky S-76B in the air when conditions weren't safe for flying. Fog was heavy on the morning of the crash, obscuring visibility for miles in hilly terrain between the Pacific Coast and Thousand Oaks.