Connect with us

Sports

Investigations into Bryant’s helicopter crash launched

Published

on

Friends, colleagues and fans mourned Kobe Bryant on Monday as federal investigators sifted through the wreckage of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball legend and eight other people, hoping to find clues to what caused the accident that stunned the world.

Bryant, 41, was traveling Sunday with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers and crew when the Sikorsky S-76 slammed into a rugged hillside in thick fog in Calabasas, northwest of LA. There were no survivors.

A five-time NBA champion for his only team, the LA Lakers, and a double Olympic gold medalist, Bryant was widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history.

He was traveling on his private helicopter from Orange County, where he lived, to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks where his daughter was set to play.

Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, told a press conference that investigators would remain at the site of the crash throughout the week to collect evidence.

“It was a pretty devastating accident scene,” she said, adding that the wreckage was strewn across about 600 feet (180 meters).

“We will be here about five days on scene to collect perishable evidence,” she said. “We are not here to determine the cause of the accident. We will not determine that on scene.”

Homendy said the aircraft did not have a black box, which was not required on that type of helicopter.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters it would “take a while” to recover the remains of the victims because of the force of the crash and the rugged terrain.

He added that given the number of people trying to access the site unlawfully, his agency has had to resort to police on horseback or all terrain vehicles to secure the area.

Philippe Lesourd, a helicopter pilot and instructor who has been flying in California for 29 years, told AFP the heavy fog likely caused the pilot to lose control of the aircraft.

He said the pilot most probably suffered “spatial disorientation” after losing sight of the ground upon entering the clouds.

The fog was heavy enough on Sunday that the Los Angeles Police Department and the sheriff’s office grounded their helicopters for part of the day.

Witnesses told local media the helicopter appeared to be flying very low and seemed to struggle before it slammed into a hillside.

NO SURVIVORS

Apart from Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the other passengers on the flight included baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, who played basketball at the same club as Gianna.

Christina Mauser, an assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team, was also killed along with Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter.

News of the crash reverberated across the globe and hundreds gathered at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where Bryant wowed fans for 20 years, placing flowers, candles and messages for their fallen hero.

“It’s unbelievable that he is gone,” said Esmeralda Cisneros. “Everyone feels empty. California and LA feel empty without him.”

Tributes have also flooded in from former US presidents, pop stars and athletes from different sports, a sign of how the man known as the “Black Mamba” had transcended basketball.

The NBA said it had postponed Tuesday’s Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers following the tragedy.

Monday evening, NBA superstar LeBron James said he was “heartbroken and devastated” over Bryant’s death in an emotional Instagram post, while also vowing to continue his friend’s championship legacy with the Lakers.

“Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!” James wrote.

“I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man!” he said.

“Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here!”

GLITTERING CAREER

Bryant’s career began in 1996, straight out of high school. On top of his NBA championship wins, he helped the US squad of all-stars to Olympic titles in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.

Bryant bowed out of the NBA in 2016, scoring 60 points in a fairytale farewell appearance at the Staples Center.

The son of former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, the Lakers legend was born in Philadelphia while his father played for the 76ers.

The elder Bryant played from 1984 to 1991 in Italy, giving young Kobe a global worldview as he grew up dreaming of following his dad into the NBA.

He would eventually join the ranks of professionals at the age of 17, jumping directly into the NBA, only the sixth player to make such a leap.

At 18, Bryant became, at the time, the youngest player or starter in an NBA game and the youngest winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

With Bryant alongside Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers captured three straight NBA crowns from 2000-2002, returning the team to glory days unseen since 1988.
Bryant’s career was almost derailed in 2003 when he was arrested in Colorado over a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee.

He admitted to adultery but denied an accusation of rape and the case was dropped in 2004 after the accuser refused to testify.

A separate civil suit was settled under terms kept private.

After his playing career, Bryant branched out into the entertainment industry.

In 2018, he won an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball”, a love letter to the sport which brought him fame and fortune. The film was made available online for free on Monday.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Wazito fc Boss to pay sacked players over Sh6 million

Published

on

By

The Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber has ordered Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Wazito FC to pay five players it sacked over six million shillings cumulative within 45 days.

Ugandan midfielder Mansoor Safi Agu, DR Congo international Piscas Muhindo, Ghanaian Paul Acquah, Liberian Augustine Otu and Togolese defender Issofou Bourhana, through their lawyer Felix Majani, stated the club to the world football governing body seeking compensation for unfair dismissal. Of the five, only Mansoor Safi was dismissed by the club at the beginning of the year while the rest were victims of the recent massive restructuring in the team.

Their cases were presented directly to the Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber in mid-August and the department has now expedited the matter.

In a previous interview, Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru admitted he had received demand letters for compensation from some of the sacked players and their representatives as well communication on the same issue from Fifa. He, however, unapologetically said he was not keen on responding to the demand letters.

If Wazito fails to pay the monies within 45 days, the club will face a transfer ban over three windows. The ban will only be lifted after the amounts are paid in full.

The ruling by Fifa could set precedence as far as the speed at which cases regarding the termination of contracts, unfair dismissal of players and the ramifications of the same in the top league in Kenya are concerned.

Earlier this year, the worldwide representative organization of professional footballers, FIFPRO publicly expressed dissatisfaction with how the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was handling such cases, with a lot of such claims remaining unsettled since 2017.

Continue Reading

Sports

Harambee Stars exclude four top-tier players

Published

on

By

Harambee Stars will miss the services of the  influential quartet of Victor Wanyama, Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Michael Olunga when they face Zambia in the Africa Cup of Nations build-up match against Zambia on Friday.

The four were omitted yesterday when Football Kenya Federation released a final squad for the match set to be staged at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani behind closed doors. “The four will not be available for the match,” said FKF’S communications chief Ken Okaka.

The experienced players were part of the 34-man provisional squad released last week by coach Francis Kimanzi who will use the match to gauge his readiness for the November qualifier double against Comoros.

Origi, who plies his trade with Finland side HIFK Fotboll, was supposed to make his comeback to the team after five years in the cold. In the absence of the revered custodian, Kimanzi will pick the starter from the Zambian based Ian Otieno and national U-23  and Ulinzi Stars  goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo.

With Wanyama unavailable, all eyes will be on Kimanzi’s choice for the captaincy. Prior to his lengthy hiatus from the team, the former Maritzburg centre back Brian Mandela who made it to the team despite being unattached served as Wanyama’s deputy alongside Musa Mohammed.

Former Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango skippered the team during last year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge in Uganda. Having established himself as Stars preferred centre forward, the unavailability of the red-hot Olunga will leave Kimanzi with no options other than to try a new formation upfront.

Algerian-based Masud Juma is likely to fill in Olunga shoes with reigning Cecafa top scorer Oscar Wamalwa, AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia and Zambia-based Timothy Otieno offering options.

Meanwhile Kimanzi recalled Bandari’s wing-wizard Abdallah Hassan to replace Timbe Hassan  was part of the Stars team which scooped bronze in the past Cecafa championship.

Yesterday, eleven local-based players reported to camp and were screened for Covid-19  in line with the protocols sanctioned by the Ministry  of Sports. Foreign-based players were expected to start checking into camp  last night.

Continue Reading

Sports

Why did Kipchoge loose the London Marathon

Published

on

By

When race commentator Steve Cram announced “this is not normal” midway through Sunday’s London Marathon it was something of an understatement as Eliud Kipchoge, the most dominant performer the distance has ever seen, was finally looking mortal.

An hour later, Kipchoge trailed home eighth in a time six minutes slower than his own world record and over a minute adrift of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who won the race after a spectacular sprint finish in two hours, 05.41 minutes.

The Kenyan had finally cracked just under three miles from the end, later saying he was suffering from a blocked ear that affected his breathing and cramp in his hip, but refusing to blame the cold, wet conditions for his poor run.

It was no surprise that he looked slightly bemused as he tried to articulate what had happened, having never previously experienced what almost every other marathon runner at every level has a bad day at the office.

His record over the distance almost defies belief. He posted in his Twitter account that one of his ears blocked, and it could not open anymore.

The Ineos Challenge record holder has however promised to fight for the title another day.

“But this is how the sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. Thanks for the support,” Kipchoge said. He added “If you want to enjoy sport then you have to accept the results. I congratulate the top finishers, and that is how to enjoy the sport.”

He has appreciated Kenyans and his fans for the tremendous support, saying that he is taking the defeat in a positive way.

The race was won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata in a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory ahead of Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba.

Continue Reading

Trending