Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


Kobe Bryant's widow sues helicopter operator for deaths

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Pilot Kobe Bryant's widow sues helicopter operator for deaths
Noah Ferguson | 25 February, 2020, 13:17

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant in Los Angeles Superior Court said the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions January 26 and should have aborted the flight that killed all nine people aboard.

Island Express did not immediately comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified general, economic and punitive damages.

It also says: "There are no indications that this is a repeated incident and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan".

Vanessa Bryant spoke at the memorial describing Kobe as "the ideal husband".

The crash also killed Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with six others. On the morning of the crash, helicopter services around the Los Angeles area-including police helicopters-were grounded due to heavy fog in the area that restricted field of vision in-flight. "Her smile was like sunshine", Vanessa Bryant said.

Zobayan was counseled "on operating in Class B airspace, special VFR weather minimums, proper planning, reviewing weather, and anticipating required action", the report said.

He was denied clearance to the airspace because weather conditions had reduced visibility below the visual flight rules. He was 100ft short of breaking through the cloud cover when the helicopter banked left and plunged into a grassy hillside, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. A final report isn't expected for a year or so.

Officials said the pilot had been struggling with the same issue of low visibility conditions the day of the recent 2020 crash.

Zobayan was reprimanded for his actions, but was allowed to continue flying.

Never miss the latest news from the Star. It also alleged that the pilot was flying 180 miles per hour in the fog in a decline before it crashed into the side of a hill in Calabasas, California.

"Defendant Island Express Helicopters' breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs' deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects", Monday's lawsuit read, according to L.A. Times reporter Nathan Fenno.

The company has had at least three previous helicopter crashes since 1985, two of them fatal, according to the NTSB's accident database.

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