Losing someone is the hardest thing for someone to go through.
February 19, 2020
Sunday January 26, 2020 should have been a day filled with competition followed with cheers and sneakers on a basketball court. It wasn’t supposed to be a day scared by a tragedy that took the lives of nine people and left a city heartbroken. The helicopter included a baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser; pilot Ara Zobayan; Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.
Baseball coach John Altobelli, passed away on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, CA with his wife and daughter. Altobelli was a former assistant baseball coach at the University of Houston. Altobelli would often fly with his daughter to attend the games. Throughout his career, he stacked more than 700 wins and in 2019 was named by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as the ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year.
Keri Altobelli is the wife of John, she passed away on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas CA. Keri was an American Public Figure, Homemaker, and Former Sportsperson Partner from Newport Beach, California. J.J. Altobelli was the son of John and Keri and had two daughters, Alyssa Altobelli and Alexis Altobelli. Alyssa passed away with her mom and dad leaving Alexis and J.J. without a mom, dad and sister.
Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton were taken from their family on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, CA. Family members said, “Sarah and Payton were the lights of our family. Payton had a smile and personality that would light up any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches. Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us,” the family continued.
Christina Mauser, was the assistant girls basketball coach at a K-8 Orange County private school. Matt Mauser Christina’s husband said in an interview “My little one, her birthday’s next week, that’s the hard part,” Matt said, visibly emotional. “I’m trying to navigate that. I’d walk in and [my daughter] would call for mom … and now I walk in, she doesn’t call for her … I think she gets it, she knows we’re grieving.” Christina and Matt also share a 9-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. She loved three things so much: her husband, her three kids, and basketball. That’s who she was.
Ara Zobayan was the pilot of the helicopter that crashed into a hillside in Calabasa, CA. “He was as skilled and as talented as a pilot as you could get. With him, it was always safety first and above and beyond that, he was doing what he loved,” says Adam Alexander, who called Zobayan a former instructor. “He had a lot of respect for flying and would never take risks. He knew the valley very well. The area where they crashed was not a new area for him. He was very familiar with that area,” the source says.