Vanessa Bryant Sues Helicopter Company Over Crash That Killed Kobe, Gianna

The suit accuses Island Express Helicopters of negligence in allowing the pilot to fly the helicopter in heavy fog.

Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the operator of the helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles last month and killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

The suit claims that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was “negligent” in his operation of the aircraft as he navigated through a heavy fog, and it accuses Island Express of taking unnecessary risk given the circumstances. Zobayan was also killed in the 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,” a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the LA Times reads.

A National Transportation Safety Board report released earlier this month noted that Zobayan, an experienced pilot and flight instructor, had received special clearance to fly in difficult conditions shortly before takeoff.

The lawsuit says the helicopter was traveling at 180 miles per hour in the moments before the crash, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by TMZ. Failure to properly research and respond to weather conditions constitutes the bulk of the claims.

The 27-count complaint seeks general damages, economic damages and punitive damages, the Times reported.

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