Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company that was flying her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna, and other passengers, when the aircraft crashed on January 26. The complaint alleges that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was negligent and failed to “use ordinary care in piloting,” and that his employer, Island Express Helicopters, is liable for the resulting crash, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Zobayan had been Bryant’s pilot for several years. The lawsuit claims that he should have more accurately monitored weather and conditions on the foggy day and aborted the flight when it appeared dangerous to fly. It also alleges that, once in the air, he failed to keep the helicopter a safe distance away from obstacles. It notes also that the FAA cited Zobayan personally in 2015 and issued Island Express Helicopters a limited certificate that only allowed its pilots to operate in conditions where they could see clearly and not have to rely on instruments.
“Defendant Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions,” the complaint says.
The focus on the weather and pilot as causes of the crash follows a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board which found no mechanical or engine issues with the 1991 Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.