Fact Check

No, This Isn't Video of the Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant

The basketball legend's death stunned the world.

Published Jan. 27, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks back in the first half while taking on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stock photo)
Image Via Getty Images/Stock photo
Viral video depicts the helicopter crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on board. One of the most renowned players for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant's death at age 41 created global shockwaves.

In the wake of the tragedy just north of Los Angeles, a video circulated online purporting to show the crash that killed the NBA star. Posted to YouTube the day of the crash, the video was captioned, "Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash LIVE FOOTAGE!" and quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views.

However, that video depicted a different tragedy: a December 2018 crash in the United Arab Emirates, in which a rescue helicopter collided with a zip line at Jebel Jais, a mountain in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Four people were killed in that crash, including pilots Saqr Saeed Mohamed Abdullah al-Yamahi and Hameed Mohamed Obaid al-Zaabi, along with navigator Jasim Abdullah Ali Tunaiji and paramedic Mark Roxburgh.

According to The New York Times, the other passengers killed with Bryant in the January 2020 crash were Ara Zobayan; John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter.


BBC. "UAE Helicopter Crash Kills Four Crew on Rescue Mission Near Zipline."     30 December 2018.

The National. "A Helicopter Crashed Into Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah."     YouTube.   30 December 2018.

The New York Times. "Live Updates: Helicopter With Kobe Bryant Approved to Fly in Fog."     Accessed 27 January 2020.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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