The U.S. Senate opened Monday’s (January 27) session of the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump with a prayer for NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter who were among nine killed in a weekend helicopter crash.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black called on senators to reflect on “life’s brevity, uncertainty and legacy” amid mourning the deaths.
Bryant’s Sikorsky S-76 chopper slammed into a steep hillside outside the town of Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, igniting a brush fire and spreading debris over a quarter-acre (1,000 square meters) of grassy terrain.
Hours later, Los Angeles County authorities said all nine people aboard the helicopter died in the crash.
The deaths of Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were confirmed by the National Basketball Association, as expressions of disbelief and grief poured in from fans, fellow athletes and politicians.
Among the factors expected to be at the forefront of the probe are weather conditions, given that forecasters reported low clouds and limited visibility in the vicinity at the time of the crash, and various eyewitnesses recounted thick fog over the foothills where the helicopter went down.