Vanessa Bryant Settles Wrongful Death Suit Against Pilot’s Estate, Helicopter Company
Vanessa Bryant along with the other plaintiffs have reached a confidential settlement agreement with the company that operated the helicopter and the estate of the pilot involved in the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others last January.
The parties filed a “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines” documents with the court on Tuesday. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
In late February 2020, Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters over the Jan. 26, 2020 crash in Calabasas that killed her husband and daughter, as well as Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, and Keri Altobelli; Payton Chester and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser, and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.
The suit said the crash was due to negligence by the pilot and the aircraft’s operating company. Vanessa Bryant said heavy fog and low clouds prompted law enforcement agencies and tour companies to ground their helicopters, but the pilot requested special clearance from air traffic control to keep flying. She says Island Express’ FAA operating certificate barred pilots from flying under such conditions and that Zobayan had previously been cited by the FAA for violating the rules.
Vanessa Bryant had sought damages in return for the losses she suffered. She was joined in the lawsuit by the three other families involved in the tragic accident.
In February this year, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the helicopter accident was caused after the pilot flew the Sikorsky S-76 through the clouds and became disoriented.
Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in May in what was a highly emotional moment, commemorating the legend’s contributions to the game and the deep reverence held among peers and fans. Vanessa Bryant delivered the acceptance speech in his honor.