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Vanessa Bryant Sues Helicopter Company For Wrongful Death -- Says Pilot Was 'Unfit' To Fly

Gettyimages | Harry How
By Mike Walters

Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant just filed a lawsuit against the company who owned the helicopter, claiming the aircraft should have NEVER been attempting to fly in such bad weather conditions, and the pilot took a risk that cost her husband and daughters their lives.

According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Bryant is suing Island Express, saying this specific helicopter was only able to fly under conditions where the pilot is able to navigate their surroundings visually. The aircraft was NOT, however, equipped with technology that would allow it to navigate in an environment with no visibility such as heavy fog.

As we reported, at the time of the crash, the fog in the area was very low and thick. It appears the pilot lost all visibility before the accident.

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So, according to the filing, Vanessa is blaming the pilot (Ara Zobayan) for "failing to properly assess the weather prior to takeoff, failed to obtain proper weather date prior to the subject flight, failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions, improperly flew the helicopter into instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions, failed to maintain proper control of the helicopter in flight, failed to properly avoid natural obstacles in the flight path and failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash."

The filing says, by virtue of the NBA legend's untimely death, the family suffered losses suffered including grief, sorrow, funeral expenses, and value of the services, consortium, companionship, comfort...and loss of support, past and future loss of income, and benefit which would have been provided by (Kobe).

Also, Vanessa claims there is damages including what Kobe and her daughter suffered at the time of their death, including "mental anguish, conscious pain and suffering, and pre-impact terror."

Vanessa Says Company Knew Pilot Was 'Unfit' To Fly In Those Conditions


In the lawsuit, Vanessa points out that the pilot had been issued a violation for a similar action in 2015, and the company should have known of his "unfitness" to be flying in such conditions. She says the company had "knowledge of his prior violation" and employed him anyways with "conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others."

Vanessa says the company and the pilot acted "reckless" with disregard for the safety and lives of the people onboard. As we reported, all nine passengers died in the crash including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi.

The lawsuit does not list an amount in which the family is asking from the company.

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