Vanessa Bryant honours Kobe and Gianna in beautiful silent tribute

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Vanessa Bryant has taken to social media to post a beautiful photo of Kobe and Gianna after her husband and daughter were killed in a devastating helicopter crash.

Vanessa understandably switched her Instagram account to ‘private’ in the hours after losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter on Sunday.

HAUNTING: Footage of Kobe Bryant's doomed helicopter emerges

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On Wednesday, Vanessa went back to ‘public’ and updated her profile picture with a touching photo of Kobe and Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant posted a photo of Kobe and Vanessa. Image: Instagram

The photo of Kobe and Gianna was snapped at Kobe’s final All-Star appearance in 2016, and shows the father and daughter in a loving embrace.

Vanessa is yet to speak publicly about the tragedy, which also claimed the lives of pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, 45, Ms Chester's 13-year-old daughter Payton, John Altobelli, 56, Mr Altobelli's wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, and Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter's team.

According to People Magazine, Vanessa is “struggling to comprehend” the tragic loss of her husband and daughter.

“It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family,” a friend of the family reportedly told People.

“She can hardly keep it together,” People quoted another source close to the family.

“She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one.”

Vanessa Bryant posted a heartbreaking photo of Kobe and Gianna. Image: Getty

Startling details about helicopter carrying Kobe

The helicopter carrying Kobe did not have a recommended warning system to alert the pilot he was too close to the ground but it is not clear if it would have averted the crash, investigators say.

At issue is what is known as a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, or TAWS, which would have sounded an alarm if the aircraft was in danger.

While the cause of the wreck is still under investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board may again recommend helicopters with six or more passenger seats be required to have such equipment.

The pilot in Sunday's crash had been climbing out of the clouds when the chartered aircraft banked left and began a sudden 1200ft descent that lasted nearly a minute, investigators said on Tuesday.

It slammed into a fog-shrouded hillside, scattering debris more than 500ft.

"This is a pretty steep descent at high speed," the NTSB's Jennifer Homendy said.

"We know that this was a high-energy impact crash."

Investigators sift through the wreckage of the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Image: Getty

The last of the victims' bodies were recovered on Tuesday and coroner's officials said the remains of Bryant, Mr Zobayan and two other passengers have been identified using fingerprints.

The NTSB recommended the Federal Aviation Administration require TAWS after a similar helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76A carrying workers to an offshore drilling ship, crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas, killing all 10 people aboard in 2004.

Ten years later, the FAA mandated such systems on air ambulances but not other helicopters.

FAA officials had questioned the value of such technology on helicopters, which tend to fly close to buildings and the ground and could trigger too many false alarms that might distract the pilot.

"Certainly, TAWS could have helped to provide information to the pilot on what terrain the pilot was flying in," Ms Homendy said of the helicopter that was carrying Bryant.

with AAP