John Altobelli was the head coach of the Orange Coast College baseball program and was going to his 24th season as head coach of the program when the sad incident occurred.
Orange Coast College Athletic Director Jason Kehler who confirmed that John died in the Calabasas helicopter crash with his family, said;
“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball. He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy.”
Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy and were flying from Orange County to Thousand Oaks to attend a game when the incident which killed 9 people occurred, OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa told CNN.
La Ruffa said;
“It was something John routinely did, flying up with Kobe to attend games with his daughter.”
Altobelli had more than 700 wins during his career, including four state championships. Last year, he was named as a Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B built in 1991, departed John Wayne Airport at 9:06 a.m on Sunday January 26, according to publicly available flight records. The chopper passed over Boyle Heights, near Dodger Stadium, and circled over Glendale during the flight.
The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street in Calabasas. Authorities received a 911 call at 9:47 a.m, and firefighters arrived to find that the crash had ignited a quarter-acre brush fire in steep terrain, said L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby. Responders included 56 firefighters, a helicopter with paramedics, hand crews and sheriff’s deputies.