The charter company that owned the helicopter that crashed and killed all nine onboard, including Kobe Bryant, halted all services Thursday.
Island Express Helicopters is “suspending all flight service for operational reasons,” according to multiple reports. Company representatives did not provide further details about the suspension.
A message regarding the crash has been posted to the company’s website since Monday, detailing the accident and offering condolences.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” the message reads. “Our top priority is providing assistance to the families of the passengers and the pilot. We hope that you will respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was our chief pilot. Ara has been with the company for over 10 years and has over 8,000 flight hours.”
The post went on to say that Island Express is working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the cause of the accident and deferred all questions to their public affairs office. Fox News reached out to the number provided but did not receive a response to the request for comment.
9 PEOPLE WHO DIED IN HELICOPTER CRASH THAT KILLED KOBE BRYANT, DAUGHTER GIANNA IDENTIFIED
The statement also thanked the first responders and local authorities who were involved with the incident.
Bryant, 41, was traveling with Gianna, 13, to a youth basketball tournament she was playing in. Two of her teammates — Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester — also died on board, along with Alyssa’s parents, John and Keri Altobelli, and Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester. Christina Mauser, the girls’ basketball coach at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., was killed as well.
Zobayan had logged 1,250 hours on the helicopter when it plunged into a patch of heavy fog in Calabasas, Calif., according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Jennifer Homendy, who spoke at a news conference Tuesday. Investigators are still trying to determine if Zobayan should have been given special permission to fly in such conditions,
Bryant’s wife Vanessa published a statement on Instagram about her husband’s passing Wednesday, thanking people for their prayers during what has been, “a horrific time.”
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” she wrote.
“We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
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Vanessa went on to empathize with the families of the other victims, before asking the public to respect her family’s privacy, as they continue to adjust to the shocking tragedy.
“Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality,” she added. “Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me.”
Fox News’ Morgan Philips and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report