/  02.24.2020


The widow of Kobe Bryant is suing Island Express Helicopters for the Jan. 26 crash that took the lives of her husband and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court today (Feb. 24), the same day a memorial was held for her husband and daughter at the Staples Center.

The suit alleges that the pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash, failed to “properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions” and “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”

The suit continues, “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.”

Vanessa’s lawyers are seeking unspecified damages from Island Express. They are also asking for damages from “pre-impact” terror. They believe Kobe and Gianna suffered emotional trauma as the pilot tried to get out of the clouds.

The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an initial investigation of the crash shows that there was no engine failure. They say that it appears that the engine was working properly at the time of the crash because there was a cut tree branch at the scene. 

The NTSB investigative update says, “The engines were found lying inverted near the empennage in the burned area. The accessory gearboxes and parts of the inlet cases of both engines were thermally destroyed. Viewable sections of the engines showed no evidence of an uncontained or catastrophic internal failure. The No. 2 engine first-stage compressor blades exhibited tip curl in the direction opposite of rotation, consistent with powered rotation at the time of impact. The engines were recovered for detailed disassembly examination.”

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