Two Orange County school coaches, family members among 9 killed in Calabasas helicopter crash

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Monday, January 27, 2020
Orange Coast College baseball coach killed in Calabasas helicopter crash
An Orange Coast College baseball coach was among the nine people killed, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas on Sunday morning.

CALABASAS, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Orange County school coaches were among the nine people who were killed in the Calabasas helicopter crash that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.

John Altobelli died Sunday morning, according to Orange Coast College officials. Altobelli was the longest-tenured baseball coach in the school's history and was entering his 28th season, according to the OCC Pirate Athletics.

Christina Mauser, an assistant basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Orange County, was also killed in the crash, according to friends and family.

According to Altobelli's brother, Tony, he was on the aircraft with his wife and daughter Alyssa when it crashed shortly before 10 a.m. in rough terrain in the area of Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street.

Tony Altobelli said he had heard about the helicopter crash but didn't initially realize his brother had been on the aircraft. Someone told him his brother sometimes flies to youth games with Bryant. He started texting others at the school and got a phone call from an assistant coach.

"That was the first I heard of it. He said they were on that chopper and they're all gone."

Kobe Bryant dead in Calabasas helicopter crash along with daughter, Gianna, 7 others

Thousands of fans showed up to Staples Center and LA Live to place impromptu memorials in honor of Kobe Bryant.

Altobelli led the Pirates to numerous championship titles, garnering more than 700 wins during his career and four state championships.

"John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball," said Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler in a written statement. "He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none - he treated them like family."

Community members began to gather and mourn at the college Sunday following the news of his death.

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Christina Mauser's husband Matthew Mauser, the head basketball coach at the school, posted on Facebook: "My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much."

The school put out a brief statement saying the campus is in mourning: "Harbor Day School is devastated by the news. We are mourning the loss of members of our community. Our first priority is the well-being of our students. As news is publicized, we will ensure that our support team is made available to assist and counsel our students. We appreciate your patience and understanding."