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Kobe Bryant’s body identified among helicopter crash victims

LOS ANGELES: Medical examiners identified the body of NBA legend Kobe Bryant after recovering the remains of all nine people who died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles, officials said Tuesday.

Bryant’s body was officially identified along with three others using fingerprints, two days after their helicopter crashed into a rugged hillside northwest of the city.

Meanwhile federal investigators finished their inspection of the crash site, handing it over to local authorities.

“We are done on the site,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Images showed investigators earlier flying drones over the accident site and manually combing through twisted, charred wreckage of the helicopter, which was scattered over a wide area of 600 feet (180 meters).

Officials also used drones to replicate the helicopter’s final, fateful flight path, Homendy said.

Earlier Tuesday, the coroner’s office confirmed all nine bodies have been retrieved from the site and “transported to the department’s forensic science center” for examination.

The bodies of pilot Ara Zobayan, baseball coach John Altobelli and Sarah Chester have also been identified.

The remaining five — including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna — have not yet been officially identified.

The death of Bryant — a five-time NBA champion for the LA Lakers and double Olympic gold medalist — has shocked the world, with tributes continuing to pour in Tuesday.