The bodies of NBA super star Kobe Bryant and eight others have been recovered from the site of their downed helicopter, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner says.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also died in the crash, along with the helicopter’s pilot and five other passengers.
Bryant and all of the passengers aboard his personal chopper were on their way to his youth basketball camp in Thousand Oaks, California, on Sunday morning (local time) when the helicopter went down in heavy fog.
Coroner’s investigators were able to recover three bodies on the day of the crash. The remaining six were located and recovered on Monday, the coroner’s office said in a statement.
All of the crash victims have been publicly identified, though authorities have yet to confirm those identities.
US National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said on Monday that the debris field from the chopper crash covered about 150-180 metres.
The devastation can be clearly seen in drone footage from the crash site released by the NTSB. It shows the trail of wreckage left when the twin-engine helicopter crashed into the California hillside.
The NTSB video, which has no sound or commentary, includes a flyover of the entire debris field. One view begins with pieces of rotor blades in the foreground, trailing to the burned fuselage.
Investigators in face masks and gloves are also shown sifting through the wreckage. Few parts of the downed helicopter can be clearly identified – among them a tyre and the rear of the fuselage.
Investigators have also asked the public to send them photos that might give more information about weather conditions in the area on Sunday morning, when the crash happened. Ms Homendy said the investigation would look at the weather, but would focus on other potential factors as well.
Radio transmissions released earlier indicated the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was trying to get above the cloud layer just before the crash happened, Ms Homendy said.
That came after Mr Zobayan radioed air traffic control to request “flight following” – a system for tracking aircraft from the tower. But the controller advised that he was too low to be tracked by the system.
According to radar data, the pilot climbed before doing a left descending turn, and crashing into the hillside, Ms Homendy said.
The NTSB is expected to give another update within hours.