Vanessa Bryant issues devastating statement about Kobe and Gianna tragedy

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Vanessa Bryant has made her first public statement about Kobe and Gianna, three days after losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash.

Bryant posted a lengthy statement on Instagram on Wednesday, alongside a touching portrait of the entire family.

‘COULD HAVE HELPED’: Startling new details about Kobe’s helicopter

In the post, Bryant thanked the millions of people who have shown their support, love and prayers toward the family in the wake of their unthinkable tragedy.

“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,” Vanessa wrote.

“We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.

Vanessa Bryant has issued a statement after the death of husband Kobe and daughter Gianna. Image: Instagram/Getty

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now.

“I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.

“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.

“But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way.

“Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”

The statement ended by announcing the creation of the MambaOnThree Fund to support the other families lost to the tragedy.

Donations can be made on MambaOnThree.org.

Bryant also made a subtle change to her Instagram account, changing her profile picture to a photo of Kobe and Gianna.

New details about helicopter carrying Kobe

The helicopter carrying the Bryants 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 that killed the former NBA superstar, his 13-year-old daughter and the seven others aboard on Sunday 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, Ara Zobayan, 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 work at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant. (Photo by James Anderson/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images)

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 Yahoo Sports US and AAP