Sarah & Payton Chester: a Tribute to the Helicopter Crash Victims

Sarah Payton Chester


Sarah and Payton Chester were killed alongside Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and others in a helicopter crash on January 26.

Following news of the death of Sarah and Payton, Payton’s brother, Riley Chester, wrote a tribute to both his mother and sister on Instagram: “Rest in peace to the most amazing mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom.”

Sarah and Payton were two of nine people who were killed in the helicopter crash on Sunday morning. The other victims were all connected by Kobe’s daughter’s basketball team, and include: Kobe and his daughter Gianna (known to family and friends as “Gigi”); John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser, an assistant coach for the team; and Ara Zobayan, the pilot.

You can learn more about the details of the crash here. 

Sarah and Payton were the last two victims to be publicly named. Here’s what you need to know:

A Community Mourns the Loss of Sarah & Payton Chester

Sarah Payton Chester

Payton Chester was a member of the Mambas girls’ basketball team, alongside Gianna Bryant and Alyssa Altobelli. Sarah, Payton’s mother, was headed to a basketball tournament to support her daughter, which is why they were both in the helicopter.

Per The Washington Post, Payton was a student at  St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Todd Schmidt, the principal of Harbor View Elementary School (where Payton attended) mourned the loss of Sarah and Payton in an emotional tribute on Facebook. He wrote,

As folks mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant, I want to take a moment to remember two gorgeous human beings who were with him, Sarah and Payton Chester…

As a principal, we work with some amazing families…the Chesters were one of those…engaged, supportive, encouraging, and full of mischief and laughter…and they had the best kiddos!

This family made such a huge impact at Harbor View…they were genuine, kind-hearted, and caring…to the staff, to other families…and yes, especially to me.

While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important…their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.

You were both the embodiment of #hvepride, and the world is just a little less without you both in it. May you both Rest In Peace and know the deep impact you had on our lives. You will be so sorely missed.

Bryant’s helicopter crashed into a remote Calabasas hillside on Sunday morning. According to The Los Angeles Timesthe Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the details around the task, with the FBI assisting as well.

The cause of the crash hasn’t been determined yet. However, investigators have indicated that they will be studying the weather and aircraft conditions, specifically. Per NBC News, Brian Alexander, an attorney at an aviation law firm, further clarified that investigators are also going to look into air traffic control, review communication logs and the flight path of the helicopter, and more.

Noting the extremely foggy weather of Sunday, Alexander added, “This is the most challenging situation for a helicopter pilot when you have these marginal conditions that are changing rapidly as you go along your flight path. You have to make some quick decisions, and the workload while flying grows, which can lead to disorientation.”


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