vt: Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant, is suing the helicopter firm she believes is responsible for the deaths of the former LA Lakers legend and their daughter, Gianna.
The NBA legend, 13-year-old Gianna, and a further seven other people (including the helicopter pilot) died in the tragic incident on January 26.
Per Variety, Kobe was traveling in his private helicopter prior to its crashing in Calabasas, California, on the Sunday morning. He and his daughter were said to on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice in nearby Thousand Oaks when the incident occurred.
According to BBC News, Vanessa Bryant filed the suit just before a memorial service was held in tribute to Kobe and Gianna in LA. The suit alleges that pilot Ara George Zobayan neglected to properly assess the weather data on the day of the incident.
It also claims that Island Express Helicopters had a “duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances”.
The weather was extremely foggy when the Sikorsky S-76B took off; with local police choosing to ground their aircraft due to the lack of visibility.
According to NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy (who forensically investigated the crash scene) Zobayan asked air traffic controllers for a Special Visual Flight Rules to fly that day.
Per BBC News, Homendy found that the chopper circled for 12 minutes in the air before being granted clearance, and was too low to be picked up by radar equipment. When Zobayan told controllers he was “climbing to avoid a cloud layer”, a left turn led to him smashing into the obscured hillside, killing all on board.
Source: Published by vt