Vanessa Bryant, Other Victims’ Families Reach Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Helicopter Crash


ESPN Vanessa Bryant     

Vanessa Bryant and family members of those who died in the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others have reached a settlement agreement in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter involved. 

The terms of the agreement have been kept confidential, according to court documents filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday and obtained by PEOPLE.

Bryant, 39, filed her lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters in February 2020, claiming that Ara Zobayan, who was piloting the flight at the time of the crash, “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions” and “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”

Zobayan died in the crash along with Kobe, Gigi, John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and Christina Mauser, 38. The group had been on their way to a youth basketball game at Kobe’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when the helicopter crashed into a mountain. 

Ethan Miller/Getty Gianna and Kobe Bryant     

RELATED: Vanessa Bryant Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Helicopter Company After Kobe & Gianna Killed

Vanessa’s complaint also argued that Island Express Helicopters “knew or should have known” that Zoboyan had been previously cited by the FAA for violating “the visual flight rules minimums by flying into an area of reduced visibility from weather conditions.”

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Vanessa and her daughters – who are also named as plaintiffs – along with the families of the other victims sought general, economic and punitive damages. 

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In response to the lawsuit, a rep for Island Express Helicopters previously told PEOPLE, “This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation.” 

RELATED: Helicopter Company Responds to Vanessa Bryant’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Claims Victims Knew ‘Risks’

In court documents filed in May 2020 and obtained by PEOPLE, the company argued that Kobe and Gianna “had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof” of flying in the helicopter.

Attorneys for the company claimed that the late father and daughter thus “voluntarily assume the risk of the accident, injury, and damages.” 

The settlement comes just two days after Vanessa shared a tribute on Instagram to Kobe on the second Father’s Day after his death. 

“To the best girl dad~ Happy Father’s Day, Papi,” Vanessa wrote, sharing a photo of the NBA star with his four daughters: Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, Gigi, 13, and Capri, 2.

“We love you forever and always, always and forever. Love you always, Nani, Gigi, B.B, Koko and VB ❤️” she added. 

If you would like to help the families of the victims of the crash, consider donating to the Mamba on Three Fund. Contributions to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.

You can view the original article HERE.

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