Kobe Bryant’s widow to settle case following fatal accident

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kobe Bryant’s widow has agreed to settle a lawsuit against the pilot and owners of the helicopter that crashed last year, killing the NBA star, his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people.

Vanessa Bryant, her children and relatives of other victims filed a notice of settlement agreement with a federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday, but the terms of the confidential agreement were not disclosed.

If approved by the court, the settlement – first announced by KABC-TV – would end a lawsuit for negligence and wrongful death brought against the estate of the pilot and the owner and operator of the aircraft. helicopter that crashed into a hill on January 26, 2020.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and six other passengers were flying from Orange County to a youth basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Ventura County. The helicopter encountered heavy fog in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.

Pilot Ara Zobayan climbed sharply and almost broke through the clouds when the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter tilted sharply and plunged into the Calabasas hills below, instantly killing all nine people on board before the flames set off. do not swallow up the wreckage.


The others killed were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach her daughter’s basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report in February that blamed the pilot’s error for the crash. The NTSB said a series of bad decisions led Zobayan to fly blindly into a wall of clouds where he became so disoriented he thought he was climbing when the craft plunged.

The agency also criticized Island Express Helicopters Inc. for inadequate review and oversight of safety matters.

The settlement agreement would end legal action against Zobayan’s estate, Island Express Helicopters Inc. and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp. The lawsuit alleged that the companies failed to properly train or supervise Zobayan and that the pilot was negligent and negligent in flying in the fog. and should have stopped the flight.

Island Express Helicopters denied any responsibility and said the crash was “an act of God” that they could not control. He sued two Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, claiming the crash was caused by their “series of wrong acts and / or omissions.”

The settlement agreement would not include the counter-suit against the federal government.


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