Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter and the pilot who crashed and killed her husband and daughter, TMZ reports.
Bryant and her lawyers contend that the aircraft was placed in unnecessary peril. Island Express allows helicopters to fly under certain visual rules. The conditions on Jan. 26 were extremely foggy, making it difficult for the pilot, Ara Zobayan, to see. Bryant’s legal team says the weather on that day was not conducive for the pilot or the company to allow the helicopter to take flight.
The lawsuit also claims that Zobayan was flying recklessly. Per the suit, the pilot was traveling at 180 miles per hour in the fog going down a steep incline before the crash. Zobayan allegedly failed to monitor the weather, obtain proper weather data, or abort the flight when he realized the weather was not suitable for travel. As a result, he couldn’t avoid “natural obstacles” in his flight path. Additionally, the suit points out that Zobayan was reprimanded in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule.
Bryant is asking for damages caused by “pre-impact” terror. This accounts for the emotional trauma Kobe and Gianna Bryant suffered as the pilot tried to navigate through the clouds. She is also seeking punitive damages for the pilots and Island Express’ reckless behavior. The loss of love, affection, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, right to support, companionship, solace or moral support and expectations of future support, counseling, and funeral expenses will be accounted for in the damages. This could lead to Bryant being awarded millions of dollars.
Zobayan was one of the nine people killed in the crash. He was one of Kobe’s longtime pilots, chauffeuring Bryant through L.A. since he decided to start using helicopters early into his NBA career.
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