Next week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will announce probable cause in the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.
According to TMZ, NTSB will make the announcement on Tuesday (Feb. 9) during a virtual board meeting that will be live-streamed to the public. Investigators have been working on the case for more than a year. During the initial investigation of the crash, the NTSB found that there was no sign of engine failure.
Investigators also found that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash, had no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the flight. His girlfriend told NTSB that he was in great shape before his untimely death.
The fatal crash took place on Jan. 26, 2020 as the passengers were on their way to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. The weather was reportedly foggy the day of the flight and investigators believe the pilot may have been disoriented while trying to travel through the low-lying clouds.
Last year, Vanesa Bryant filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters. The suit alleged that the pilot 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.”
“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,” the lawsuit stated.
Vanessa’s lawyers are seeking unspecified damages from the helicopter company. They are also asking for damages from “pre-impact” terror. They believe Bryant and his daughter suffered emotional trauma as the pilot tried to get out of the clouds.