Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter company

Vanessa Bryant speaks at the Kobe & Gianna Bryant Celebration of Life on Monday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
WALLY SKALIJ/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS

BY BRIANNA NARGISO
TRICE EDNEY NEWSWIRE

On the same day that thousands gathered in the Los Angeles Staples Center to memorialize superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianni, it was announced later that Vanessa Bryant had filed a wrongful death suit against Island Express Helicopters, claiming the lives of her husband and daughter were the result of pilot negligence.

The lawsuit filed by Bryant’s lawyers alleges that the helicopter company is responsible for the Jan. 26 plane crash into a Calabasas hillside that killed Kobe and Gianna.

The lawsuit states that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was flying at an accelerated rate and under extremely foggy conditions when the helicopter crashed and killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with seven others. The lawsuit also states that Island Express Helicopters allowed the flight with full knowledge” that the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter was flying in “unsafe weather conditions.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was negligent.

Zobayan was also reprimanded in 2015 for reckless flying, ignoring visibility rules that prohibited flying, reported TMZ Sports.

Kobe Bryant, the complaint alleges, died “as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan” for which “the company is vicariously liable in all respects,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

Defendants in the lawsuit are listed as Island Express and the estate of Zobayan.

USA Today notes that although there is no dollar amount listed in the lawsuit, Bryant is suing for general, economic and punitive damages.

The news of the lawsuit comes after the memorial service of Kobe and Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles celebrated the life of the father daughter duo that was cut short on Jan. 26.

Both Kobe and Gianna were travelling in a helicopter from John Wayne Airport to Camarillo Airport for a basketball game before hitting a mountain at 1,700 feet, killing everyone on board.

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