Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death lawsuit against helicopter company

Kobe Bryant photo by Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Feb. 24 (UPI) — Vanessa Bryant on Monday filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter that crashed last month causing the death of her husband Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters alleges that the company put the helicopter in the air when conditions were not safe for flying.

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted a flight with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions,” the lawsuit states.

It also alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan, who died in the crash, was flying at 180 mph in dense fog.

The suit states that the victims died as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan, whose estate is also listed as a defendant, and the company is “vicariously liable in all respects.”

Bryant filed the lawsuit before a public memorial in Los Angeles honoring her husband, daughter and the other victims.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board found no evidence of engine failure in the crash and it is still investigating what role, if any, dense fog that morning played in the crash but a final report is not expected until next year.

Federal Aviation Administration records also show that Zobayan violated flight safety rules related to weather conditions in 2015 but he complied with counseling and the agency said there were “no signs” that the incident was a trend.


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