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Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death suit: Alleges crash was due to negligence of helicopter company and pilot

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe
Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter company for the death of Kobe and daughter Gianna. Pic credit: @ImageCollect.com/Carrie-nelson

Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Monday against Island Express, the company that owned the helicopter that crashed last month in Calabasas, California, killing her husband Kobe and 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit is claiming that the crash was due to negligence by Island Express and pilot Ara George Zobayan. The lawsuit alleged that the helicopter was not safe and that the company and pilot took a needless risk in adverse weather conditions, according to TMZ.

Bryant alleged that Island Express’s FAA license did not allow its pilots to fly under the prevailing weather conditions on the day the crash occurred. The suit said the owners of the chopper should not have allowed it to fly due to the low and thick fog.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit said that other companies and agencies were forced to ground their helicopters that day but Island Express’s pilot asked for a special clearance to fly. By so doing, the pilot disregarded the existing safety regulations that restricted flying under conditions of reduced visibility.

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects.”

It was not the first time that pilot Ara George Zobayan had violated safety rules, the lawsuit said. He was cited in 2015 after flying into airspace with reduced visibility.

Bryant alleged that the pilot did not assess the weather conditions before taking off for the flight and that when he became aware of the conditions, he failed to abort the flight.

Kobe Bryant crash: Reduced visibility was a factor

Multiple media reports revealed there was heavy fog during the ill-fated flight.

Preliminary investigations confirmed that the helicopter’s engine did not fail and that reduced visibility due to fog was one of the factors that led to chopper crashing into the side of a hill.

Investigators also found that the helicopter did not have the recommended warning systems installed, according to USA Today.

Vanessa Bryant is suing for damages

Bryant is reportedly suing for general, economic, and punitive damages. The suit is demanding damages for emotional trauma suffered by Kobe and Gianna as the helicopter crashed.

Bryant is also seeking punitive damages for “for loss of love, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, right to support, companionship, solace or moral support and expectations of future support and counseling,” according to TMZ.

The suit is also seeking economic damages for loss of financial support, burial and funeral expenses.

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