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Vanessa Bryant Sues Helicopter Company After Kobe & Gigi’s Tragic Deaths

Vanessa Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Kobe Bryant Death
Source: Shutterstock; Instagram

Feb. 24 2020, Updated 4:19 p.m. ET

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Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company, claiming the pilot was reckless while flying in bad weather.

Her lawsuit alleges Island Express pilot Ara Zobayan decided to fly under visual flight rules rather rely on his instruments designed to help him navigate through foggy conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In flight tower audio obtained by, the pilot, 50, is heard talking to operators from various airports about the dangerous conditions.

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“He’s been holding for about 15 minutes,” a flight tower employee said about Bryant’s helicopter around 9:30 a.m. on January 26.

“You’re still too low level for flight following at this time,” the flight tower employee warned the pilot before the helicopter crashed into a mountain in Calabasas, California, killing Kobe, 41, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, including the pilot.

In her lawsuit, Vanessa, 37, states that the pilot was going 180 miles per hour in the heavy fog in a steep decline prior to the fatal collision. Apart from that, she says he failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff, failed to obtain proper weather data prior to the flight, failed to abort the flight after learning of the cloudy conditions, failed to maintain control of the helicopter and failed to avoid “natural obstacles” in the flight path.

Vanessa Bryant

She adds that Island Express put her late husband and daughter, 13, in danger by letting them fly under “unnecessary and needlessly risky” conditions. Because of that, she claims the company was reckless.

Vanessa — who recently admitted on Instagram that she’s still in shock over the deaths of Kobe and Gigi — is also suing the helicopter company for causing her late family members emotional trauma “pre-impact.”

Her lawsuit includes a mention about the pilot’s flight history, highlighting that he was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.



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