FACT CHECK: Was Rick Fox A Passenger In The Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant And 8 Others?

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims former NBA player Rick Fox was a passenger in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed former NBA player Kobe Bryant and eight others.

Verdict: False

Fox was not one of the nine people aboard the helicopter. His stepdaughter confirmed Fox is “ALIVE and safe.”

Fact Check:

A helicopter carrying Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed Jan. 26 near Calabasas, California, killing everyone onboard. Shortly after news of the fatal crash broke, misinformation about the identities of the victims spread online.

Some Facebook users, like former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, claimed that one of the people killed in the crash was Fox, a former Los Angeles Lakers teammate of Bryant’s. Lockette’s post contains a photo of Fox, and the caption reads, “RIP Rick Fox also on board with Kobe.”

However, his stepdaughter, Jillian Hervey, confirmed Fox wasn’t onboard on Twitter.

“To confirm my stepdad Rick Fox is ALIVE and safe! I just got off the phone with my sister,” tweeted Hervey. “We are all in shock and deeply saddened but please don’t spread false news.”

NBATV reporter Jared Greenberg, also debunked the notion Fox was one of the nine people who died in the crash. (RELATED: Viral Video Claims To Show Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Crashing)

“I have personally communicated with Rick Fox via text since the news about Kobe dying came out PLEASE STOP spreading ‘news’ unless you personally can confirm it!” Greenberg tweeted.

Other victims killed in the crash included Orange Coast College basketball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyssa, Harbor Day School basketball coach Christina Mauser, pilot Ara Zobayan, mother Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, according to The New York Times.

The National Traffic Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have launched an investigation into what caused the helicopter crash. Foggy conditions at the time were considered dangerous enough that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department grounded their helicopters, according to The Associated Press.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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