Jan 26, 2020
Transcript: Los Angeles Officials Speak About Kobe Bryant’s Death in Press Briefing
NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. The Los Angeles police shared details on the crash shortly after the news broke in a public news conference. 9 people total are reported to be dead, many yet to be identified at this moment. Read the transcript of the Los Angeles police public statement.
E. Espinoza: (00:48)
All right. Good afternoon everyone. My name is Elizabeth Espinoza. I’m the executive director of communications for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We thank you so much for being here with us today. In the order of speakers that we will have today will be LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby and then we will have LA County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva come to the podium. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (01:16)
Let’s go live with Chief Daryl Osby of the County Fire Department.
Daryl Osby: (01:20)
Good afternoon. My name is Daryl Osby and I’m the fire chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. I want to thank you for coming here to today’s briefing of the Willow incident. Today, shortly before 10:00 at 9:47 am the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a 911 call of a potential helicopter down and a brush fire at the intersection of Los Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street in the city of Calabasas in unincorporated Los Angeles County. Upon arrival our firefighters discovered an approximately quarter acre brush fire that resulted from a crash on the hillside. The Los Angeles County Fire Department initial response was 15 pieces of apparatus and 56 personnel that consisted of paramedics, engine company, heavy rescue, truck company, hand crews and aircraft, and a chief officer to oversee the incident. Upon arrival during the incident and upon arrival at the Sheriff’s Department our two respective departments entered into unified command to handle this incident.
Daryl Osby: (02:37)
Our firefighters on scene indicated that there was a debris field and steep terrain with a quarter acre brush fire that was occurring at the time. Our firefighters hiked in to the accident site with their medical equipment and hose lines to extinguish the stubborn fire as it included the brush fire, debris from the helicopter and the fire also included magnesium which is very hard for our firefighters to extinguish because magnesium reacts with oxygen and water. In addition to our firefighters hiking into the incident, we had one helicopter flying to the incident with firefighter paramedics on board.
Daryl Osby: (03:24)
Those care medics were hoisted down to the incident. Early into the incident they did a search of the area for survivors. Unfortunately, all the survivors on board were determined to have been perished. Firefighters and hand crews worked to extinguish the fire while carefully preserving the incident for investigation. Currently there’s an investigation still ongoing. I would like to turn this over to my sheriff to continue the press briefing.
Alex Villeneuva: (04:06)
Thank you Chief Osby. Personnel from Los Angeles Sheriff’s [inaudible 00:04:10] and responded to the scene of the crash site and assisted the fire department. We’ve established a containment area and now our Aero Bureau has a handle on traffic or aircraft accidents. However, when there’s a fatality then it switches to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, the NTSB, and the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA. The FAA is already on scene and assisting. We’re waiting the arrival of the coroner’s office to assist in the recovery of the remains. As the Chief indicated there were no survivors. We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people on board the aircraft.
Alex Villeneuva: (04:50)
The pilot plus eight individuals. There is wide speculation of who the identities are. However, it would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification through their very deliberative process and they’ve made notifications to the next of kin. And it would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one has perished and that you learn about it from TMZ. that is just wholly inappropriate so we’re not going to be going there. We’re going to wait until the coroner does their job and we’re assisting the families of those who believe there had been impacted.
Alex Villeneuva: (05:27)
It’s a tough process and our hope goes out to all of the members that were on board. All the family of everyone that was on board this aircraft and God bless their souls. So at this point in time we have nothing that we can add until the corner does her job and we’ll be making those notifications. When we have the information and we know the next one can have been notified, then we can release the information publicly. You’ll be notified in subsequent announcements.
Speaker 8: (05:56)
Sheriff, there’s one thing you can confirm. Can we have a confirmation actually of nine bodies there at the scene?
Speaker 7: (06:02)
If the manifest says nine aboard does that mean there were nine bodies?
Alex Villeneuva: (06:04)
That is our belief, yes.
E. Espinoza: (06:06)
We realize at this point there are so many questions. There’s a lot of information out there and again we understand there’s a lot of information that’s floating but we certainly have a responsibility and obligation out of respect, of course, to the families and this is a very difficult time of resolve for the city. We have the mayor here of Calabasas and also city council. We thank them for being here, and in fact they wanted to pass on a message that for those in the community that want to gather here and are coming to Calabasas, if you do you are welcome to join others at the de Anza Park here in Calabasas.
E. Espinoza: (06:37)
The cross streets there are Lost Hills and Las Virgenes. Also, the Sheriff’s Information Bureau will be sending out updates as to when there will be, if there is one, a press advisory out, a notification of another press conference or any other updates through our Twitter. So please look for that. And again, we thank you so much for being here today. And again, thank you for your time.
Speaker 6: (07:02)
Sheriff, just a question quickly on sealing off the area. We know the NTSB has to be there to do that thing. Is the public going to be able to get anywhere nearby or is the stretch of Las Vergenes going to be shut down for an indeterminate period of time?
Alex Villeneuva: (07:16)
It remains shut down for an indeterminate period.
Speaker 6: (07:18)
How big of an area? Any idea?
Alex Villeneuva: (07:21)
Enough to keep it…
Speaker 8: (07:21)
Can you confirm there was heavy fog in the area?
Speaker 1: (08:18)
Yes. Chief, can you come to the podium please. Can you come to the podium please.
Daryl Osby: (08:53)
I’m only going, I can only speak to what I said earlier so I’m not going to, I’m only going to speak to what I said earlier that we got a call before 10:00 about 9:47 that it came in as a helicopter down and a small brush fire. Our firefighters arrived on scene to a small brush fire and there was an aircraft down. The ground firefighters had to hike into the incident. The firefighter paramedics went in by helicopter, hoisted down to do an investigation of a crash scene and there are no survivors.
Speaker 7: (09:31)
What were the weather conditions?
Daryl Osby: (09:34)
That I don’t know.
Speaker 9: (09:34)
Who made the call?
Daryl Osby: (09:35)
There are no survivors. There’s no survivors. It’s under investigation and that’s all that we can say.
Speaker 7: (09:44)
Because the identity of the nine people on board outside of Kobe have not been revealed will we know when the autopsy results will be revealed so that we can know the…
Daryl Osby: (09:51)
The coroner can speak to that upon the review of the autopsy.
Speaker 9: (09:58)
Where were they going? What was their destination?
Daryl Osby: (10:00)
That I don’t know.
Speaker 7: (10:04)
Who called 911?
Daryl Osby: (10:04)
That I don’t know.
Speaker 8: (10:04)
Could you tell who was piloting the helicopter?
Daryl Osby: (10:09)
I don’t know.
Speaker 6: (10:10)
Mr. Bryant had a helicopter in place.
Daryl Osby: (10:12)
I don’t know. I just wanted to reiterate what I said because they said it wasn’t clear. I’m not going to speak to anything else that the sheriff can answer because it’s under investigation.
Speaker 7: (10:23)
Why was it so difficult to put out the fire? You talked briefly about a component. Why was that difficult?
Speaker 6: (10:24)
Daryl Osby: (10:25)
I talked earlier about the helicopter that had magnesium on the helicopter and magnesium reacts to water and oxygen when it’s burning. So it took an additional amount of time for our firefighters to extinguish the fire.
Speaker 6: (10:50)
What time did they…
Speaker 7: (10:50)
How much time did it take for the firefighters to reach them?
Daryl Osby: (10:51)
The 911 call came in at 9:47. It took approximately eight minutes for us to arrive on the scene. And then approximately another hour for everything to be extinguished.
Speaker 7: (11:00)
Could they have dead on impact?
Speaker 6: (11:00)
What time did they get to the helicopter itself?
Speaker 7: (11:01)
Eight minutes later.
Daryl Osby: (11:04)
I’m just repeating myself. The fact of the matter is that our paramedics did a search and there were no survivors.
Speaker 6: (11:11)
Chief, I know you can’t get too much into the specifics on this but a question. How wide is the debris field and the area that we’re talking about that the investigators are going to have to look at and how are they going to be able to seal off that area to make sure nobody gets in.
Daryl Osby: (11:25)
The brush fire was a quarter of an acre and that’s about the size of the debris field from my understanding. I can’t speak to that. I know the Sheriff spoke and hopefully you can understand the sensitivity of the next of kin being notified. We need to make appropriate notifications upon the identification of the passengers. And that’s going to take time and I know that the coroner has people on scene and even the coroner himself is in route. That they need to do an investigation. They need to look at the manifest and they need to confirm the DNA or whatever process the coroner does to confirm the bodies before making an official announcement and that’s up to him.
Speaker 7: (12:13)
Do you know how many were minors?
E. Espinoza: (12:13)
There were nine people on board. Is it possible that there were more people than were supposed to be on board that aircraft, on that helicopter?
Daryl Osby: (12:21)
That’s still under investigation.
Speaker 6: (12:22)
Can you tell us where the helicopter was going from and to approximately?
Daryl Osby: (12:25)
I do not have that information.
Speaker 8: (12:26)
Was everyone confirmed dead when you arrived on scene?
Daryl Osby: (12:29)
I’m being repetitive again but I’m going to repeat it again is that unfortunately when the firefighter paramedics did a search of the area they identified there were no survivors.
Speaker 8: (12:40)
You said it took eight minutes to arrive on scene. How long did it…
Speaker 7: (12:42)
Some were minors and do you know how many without revealing identities of how many might be minors
Daryl Osby: (12:44)
That’s underminable at this time.
Speaker 8: (12:47)
You said it took eight minutes to get to the scene. How long did it take you to get into the helicopter or to the helicopter itself?
Daryl Osby: (12:53)
I don’t have that information.
Speaker 7: (12:58)
Magnesium. Is that associated with a fuel? What is the magnesium?
Daryl Osby: (13:00)
Magnesium. There’s fuel in the helicopter. Magnesium is part of the components that the helicopter is constructed with.
Speaker 8: (13:05)
Can you tell us who owned the helicopter?
Daryl Osby: (13:07)
That I don’t know. That’s under investigation and that will be…
Speaker 7: (13:11)
Do we know who was flying the helicopter?
Daryl Osby: (13:12)
That’s under investigation. That will be released at another time.
Speaker 7: (13:14)
Is there a black box?
Daryl Osby: (13:19)
That I don’t know. That’s under investigation.