Vanessa Bryant Has Filed A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against The Helicopter Company That Kobe Bryant Used
A star-studded public memorial service is currently underway at The Staples Center honoring Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant who, along with seven others, died in a helicopter crash on January 26. At the same time, it was just announced that Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company, Island Express, claiming they’re responsible for the death of her husband and daughter. According to Complex, the suit also names the pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was also killed. We’ve already heard that fog and severely limited visibility were factors in the crash. It was also previously reported that the helicopter was lacking a terrain avoidance warning system. All of those factors are addressed in the lawsuit.
The suit accuses Zobayan, his representative identified in the suit as “Doe 1,” (via the AP) of “flying recklessly” and notes that he had previously been reprimanded by the FAA for violating a “visual flight rule.” According to Complex:
Bryant and her lawyers contend that the aircraft was placed in unnecessary peril. Island Express allows helicopters to fly under certain visual rules. The conditions on Jan. 26 were extremely foggy, making it difficult for the pilot, Ara Zobayan, to see. Bryant’s legal team says the weather on that day was not conducive for the pilot or the company to allow the helicopter to take flight.
The lawsuit also claims that Zobayan was flying recklessly. Per the suit, the pilot was traveling at 180 miles per hour in the fog going down a steep incline before the crash. Zobayan allegedly failed to monitor the weather, obtain proper weather data, or abort the flight when he realized the weather was not suitable for travel. As a result, he couldn’t avoid “natural obstacles” in his flight path. Additionally, the suit points out that Zobayan was reprimanded in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule.
The thought of Kobe and Gigi’s last moments is haunting beyond measure. I can’t imagine how difficult a burden that must be for Vanessa, and something she’ll live with for the rest of her life. As such, she’s suing for damages for “pre-impact terror,” which is honestly the scariest thing I never knew you could sue somebody for.
This accounts for the emotional trauma Kobe and Gianna Bryant suffered as the pilot tried to navigate through the clouds. She is also seeking punitive damages for the pilots and Island Express’ reckless behavior. The loss of love, affection, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, right to support, companionship, solace or moral support and expectations of future support, counseling, and funeral expenses will be accounted for in the damages. This could lead to Bryant being awarded millions of dollars.
I’m sure countless young athletes involved in the newly christened Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation will benefit greatly from Vanessa’s suit.
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Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Our mission remains the same – and stronger than ever – to provide opportunities to young people through sports. Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape. #Mamba #Mambacita #wings @mambamambacitasports
Because this is all so horrible and sad, I’ll conclude with Michael Jordan joking at Kobe and Gigi’s memorial about not wanting to become another “crying Jordan meme.”
— Complex (@Complex) February 24, 2020
And here are Vanessa’s opening remarks in case you’re suffering from dry-eye syndrome.
“He was my everything.”
Vanessa Bryant remembers Kobe at the Celebration of Life. pic.twitter.com/vHb9xP0qmm
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2020