Vanessa Bryant reportedly files wrongful death lawsuit against helicopter company
An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna last month is still ongoing, but Bryant’s wife Vanessa is apparently confident the tragedy could have been avoided if proper safety measures were taken.
According to a report from TMZ, Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter in which Kobe, Gianna and seven others were traveling when it crashed into the hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. The lawsuit claims that Island Express, the company that owned the chopper, was only authorized to fly under visual flight rules. The conditions the day of the fatal crash did not meet the standards of visual flight rules, meaning any pilot operating in them would be doing so under special visual flight rules, or special VFR.
The lawsuit states that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was traveling 180 mph in foggy conditions in a steep decline at the time of the crash. The documents also note that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking punitive damages, claiming Zoboyan and Island Express were reckless. A specific dollar amount for the damages was not listed.
Kobe traveled with Zobayan frequently, and all indications are Zobayan was his most trusted pilot. Kawhi Leonard spoke highly of Zobayan after the crash and said he had flown with the pilot many times.
Preliminary findings that were released by the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month revealed that there was no evidence of engine failure at the time of the helicopter crash. A chilling video of the helicopter minutes before the tragedy showed that it was flying in very foggy conditions, and audio that was released from before the crash also showed that conditions were not ideal.