Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday morning.
Bryant, 41, was on board a Sikorsky S-76 with four others – who also died, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The S-76 is used for VIP and emergency flights, and is described by manufacturers Lockheed Martin as a “smooth” and “reliable” model.
Its website says: “Since 1977, more than 875 S-76 aircraft have been delivered world-wide.
“The offshore mission accounts for 65% of the total flight hours accumulated fleet-wide to date. More than 10% of the fleet’s flight hours have been flown in the critical life-saving missions of search and rescue and helicopter air ambulance transportation.
“The S-76 is well-known for its work in VIP transportation and utility work. Today, it continues dependable service for all of these mission segments.
“More than 178 customers operate S-76 helicopters in a corporate or VIP role. Ten countries rely on the S-76 for the head of state mission.”
The FAA said in a preliminary statement: “A S-76 helicopter crashed this morning under unknown circumstances near Calabassas, Calif.
“Local authorities say that five people were on board.
“Please check with local authorities for more information on the condition of the occupants.”
Investigations by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have been launched.