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Ara Zobayan piloted the helicopter that crashed with Kobe Bryant on board

The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in California killing nine people including basketball legend Kobe Bryant has been identified as Ara Zobayan, The Sun reports.

KTLA reporter Chirstina Paxcucci wrote on Twitter: “Friends have identified the pilot as Ara Zobayan.

“He taught aspiring heli pilots to fly and was very much loved in the aviation community

“They wrote ‘rest easy as you take your final flight to heaven.”

Three of the victims have been named as Orange Coast College coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. Another victim was later named Christina Mauser, a high school coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar.

Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, were travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.

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