CALABASAS, California — Coroner’s officials worked to recover victims’ remains Monday from the hillside outside Los Angeles where a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed in weather so foggy that local police departments had grounded their own choppers.
About 20 investigators were on the scene where everyone aboard was killed Sunday morning in a wreck that left debris scattered over an area the size of a football field.
The accident generated an outpouring of grief and shock around the world over the sudden loss of the all-time basketball great who spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Thousands of fans, many wearing Bryant jerseys and chanting his name, gathered outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, home of the Lakers and site of Sunday’s Grammy Awards, where Bryant was honored.
The 41-year-old Bryant, who perished with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was one of the game’s most popular players, an 18-time All-Star who helped lead the Lakers to five NBA championships.
The cause of the crash was unknown, but conditions at the time were such that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department grounded their helicopters.
The Los Angeles County medical examiner, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, said the rugged terrain complicated efforts to recover the remains. He estimated it would take at least a couple of days to complete the task.
Three bodies were recovered Sunday afternoon before darkness forced the search to be suspended, the coroner’s office said.