Kobe Bryant’s Widow Vanessa Bryant Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Helicopter Operator
Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

February 24, 2020—A day that will forever be etched in stone as a day of remembrance for Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and all seven other victims of the fatal helicopter crash that took their lives.

As the emotional public memorial service for the victims was held Monday, news also broke that Bryant’s widow sued the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed the former Los Angeles Lakers star and their 13-year-old daughter last month. Pilot Ara Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bryant claimed the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions January 26 and should have aborted the flight.

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The 27-count complaint against Zobayan, or his successor, and Island Express Helicopters Inc., also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The company issued a statement on Jan. 30 on its website saying the shock of the crash had prompted it to suspend service until it was appropriate for staff and customers.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is still investigating the crash, said in a preliminary report earlier this month that the helicopter showed no sign of engine failure and that Zobayan became disoriented before crashing into a hillside in Calabasas, California, while trying to reach clear skies.


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