CALABASAS, Calif. — Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, was on board the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas Sunday, killing Mauser, basketball legend Kobe Bryant and seven others.
Her husband, Matt Mauser, confirmed her death on his Facebook page. “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash,” he wrote.
Bryant and one of his daughters were among those killed Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, sources and officials said.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant had been expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for Sunday. Gianna was expected to play in the game and Bryant was expected to coach, according to Lady Mavericks team director Evelyn Morales.
The helicopter crash, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, caused a brush fire, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said. The crash killed all nine people aboard, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Earlier, the sheriff’s department said five people were killed in the crash. Officials have not identified the victims.
Tony Altobelli told CNN his brother, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56; John’s daughter Alyssa and wife Keri were killed in the crash. Altobelli was a former assistant baseball coach at the University of Houston, the school said.
Alyssa and Gianna were teammates, Tony Altobelli said.
LA County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda said he didn’t immediately have any information about whether the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter radioed a distress signal.
“Individuals that saw the aircraft said it was coming down at a fairly significant rate of speed and impacted the ground on the hillside,” he told reporters.
Imbrenda said he didn’t know where the helicopter took off from or where it was headed.
The helicopter was built in 1991, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It was registered to Island Express Holding Corp, according to a FAA registry database.
Calls to Island Express were not answered Sunday. The company is based in Fillmore, according to the California Secretary of State database.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the FAA said in a tweet. An NTSB team is expected to arrive in Calabasas on Sunday evening, the NTSB said in a tweet. The FBI said it is assisting the NTSB in the investigation.
There was extremely low visibility at the time of the crash and conditions were foggy and cloudy with a drizzle, according to CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy. Pictures taken shortly after the crash showed fog in the area. The relative humidity was 100%, meaning the air was like soup, Guy said.
Due to the foggy conditions, the Los Angeles Police Department grounded its helicopters Sunday morning, a spokesman told CNN. Police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said the weather conditions did not meet the minimum standards for flying.