Kobe Bryant died in a tragic helicopter accident earlier this year. Airplanes and helicopters are the safest means of transportation available. But when rare incidents do occur, the results can be disastrous.
Unfortunately, we have already lost many athletes, singers, and celebrities in plane crashes.
They are irreparable losses for sport, music, and politics, but much more felt by their families.
Here we will recall some of these personalities who left, but will always be in our memories.
These are some celebrities who died in aviation crashes.
Kobe Bryant (August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020)
Kobe Bryant (professional basketball player). A shooting guard, he spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Kobe Bryant won five NBA championships and was an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. Bryant also led the NBA in scoring twice and ranks fourth on the league’s all-time regular-season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.
Bryant died at age 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. A number of tributes and memorials were subsequently issued, while the All-Star Game MVP award was renamed in his honor. Kobe was one of the basketball celebrities that will be remembered forever by sports lovers, and he did not deserve to have died in aviation crashes.
Emiliano Sala (31 October 1990 – 21 January 2019)
Emiliano Sala began his professional career in France with Bordeaux in February 2012. In 2015, he signed for Nantes on a permanent basis. With Nantes, he made more than 100 appearances in Ligue 1, and achieved a successful goal scoring record, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer for three consecutive seasons.
Sala died in a plane crash off Alderney on 21 January 2019. He was a passenger aboard a Piper Malibu light aircraft flying from Nantes to Cardiff. An initial three-day search covered 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2) across the English Channel. Two subsequent private searches were launched, resulting in the discovery of the wreckage on 3 February. Sala’s body was recovered four days later.
John Denver (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997)
John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian. Denver began his music career with folk music groups during the late 1960s. By 1974, he was one of America’s best-selling performers, and AllMusic has described Denver as “among the most beloved entertainers of his era”.
Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He had 33 albums and singles with estimated sales of more than 33 million units. John Denver earning 12 gold and four platinum albums with his signature songs “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Calypso”, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, and “Sunshine on My Shoulders”.
Was also a pilot who had ample experience in the air. Died when the plane he was piloting crashed in Monterey Bay, California, he was 53.
John Kennedy Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999)
John Kennedy Jr. often referred to as John-John or JFK Jr., was an American lawyer, journalist, and magazine publisher. He was a son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Three days after his father was assassinated, he rendered a final salute during the funeral procession on his third birthday.
Trained as a lawyer, he worked as a New York City assistant district attorney for almost four years. In 1995, he launched George magazine, using his political and celebrity status to publicize it.
In 1999 at the age of 38, Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette, and his sister-in-law Lauren were killed when the aircraft “Piper Saratoga” piloted by John crashed in the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts.
Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – disappeared December 15, 1944)
Glenn Miller was an American big-band trombonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1942, leading one of the best-known big bands. Miller’s recordings include “In The Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “A String of Pearls”, and “Little Brown Jug”. In just four years Glenn Miller scored 16 number-one records and 69 top ten hits — more than Elvis Presley and the Beatles did in their careers.
In 1942, Miller volunteered to join the U.S. military to entertain troops during World War II. On December 15, 1944, while flying to Paris, Miller’s aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937, declared dead January 5, 1939)
Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
In 1932, piloting a Lockheed Vega 5B, Earhart made a nonstop solo transatlantic flight, becoming the first woman to achieve such a feat. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigation flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Amelia was probably the most influential of her time celebrities who died in aviation crashes
Chapecoense (2016 plane crash)
Chapecoense is a Brazilian football club, based in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina.
On the evening of 28 November 2016, LaMia Flight 2933, carrying 77 people, including the staff and players from the club, crashed as it approached Medellín, Colombia. 71 people died (including 21 journalists and almost the entire first-team and managerial staff) and 6 survived. The surviving players were left-back Alan Ruschel, backup goalkeeper Jakson Follmann, and center-back Neto. Goalkeeper Danilo initially survived the crash, but later died before arriving at the hospital. LaMia Airlines Flight 2933 ran out of fuel. The pilot requested to land due to fuel problems but was instructed to wait 7 minutes as another aircraft was having fuel leakage problems and had already requested priority landing. The government of Bolivia has suspended LaMia Airlines’s flying license after it surfaced that the pilot skipped a crucial refueling stop.
Cory Lidle (March 22, 1972 – October 11, 2006)
Cory Lidle was an American professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher spent nine seasons in Major League Baseball with seven different teams.
On October 11, 2006, Lidle and co-pilot Tyler Stanger were flying a Cirrus SR20 airplane when it crashed into the Belaire Apartments complex at 527 East 72nd Street on New York City’s Upper East Side, killing them both. A strong wind from the east due to an incoming front caused the plane to be blown into the building as it was making a 180-degree turn.
Rocky Marciano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969)
Rocky Marciano was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955 and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to have finished his career undefeated. His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell, and Archie Moore.
On August 31, 1969 (the day before his 46th birthday), Marciano was a passenger in a small private plane, a Cessna 172 heading to Des Moines, Iowa. It was nighttime and bad weather had set in. The pilot, Glenn Belz, had 231 total hours of flying time and had no instrument rating. Belz tried to land the plane at a small airfield outside Newton, Iowa but the aircraft hit a tree two miles short of the runway.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (29 de junho de 1900 – 31 de julho de 1944)
Saint-Exupéry was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the United States National Book Award. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand and Stars, and Night Flight.
On July 31, 1944, Saint-Exupery took off from the island of Corsica aboard the Lockheed Lightning P-38 fighter for a reconnaissance flight. He was one of the countless French pilots who collaborated with American war efforts. Saint-Exupéry never returned. Antoine is first and foremost one of the celebrities who influenced generations and did not deserve to have died in aviation crashes.
Yuri Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968)
Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space, achieving a major milestone in the Space Race. Onboard the capsule, Vostok 1, completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation’s highest honor.
On 27 March 1968, while on a routine training flight from Chkalovsky Air Base, Gagarin and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died when their MiG-15UTI crashed near the town of Kirzhach. The bodies of Gagarin and Seryogin were cremated and their ashes interred in the walls of the Kremlin.
Graham Hill (15 February 1929 – 29 November 1975)
Graham Hill was a British racing driver and team owner from England, who was the Formula One World Champion twice. He is the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix. He also appeared on TV in the 1970s on a variety of non-sporting programs including panel games.
Hill died on 29 November 1975 at the controls of his Piper PA-23 Aztec twin-engine light aircraft when it crashed near Arkley, Hertfordshire, while on a night approach to Elstree Airfield in thick fog. Onboard with him were five other members of the Embassy Hill team. Was returning from a car-testing session at the Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France. Celebrities from Formula 1 and Indy still remember this elegant driver who died in an aviation crashes.