Family members of victims in helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant file wrongful death lawsuit


It’s been nearly three months since a helicopter carrying Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others crashed into a hillside in Southern California, killing all on board. Now, the family members of multiple victims have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against two companies responsible for the aircraft. 

The lawsuits do not name the pilot of the helicopter as a defendant but instead focus on Island Express Helicopters Inc. and Island Express Holding Corp, according to the Associated Press.

One suit was filed by two children of Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa, who played basketball with Gianna. Another suit was filed by the husband and three children of Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls’ basketball team

An initial National Transportation Safety Board report said there were no signs of engine failure from the wreckage recovered. Zobayan had nearly navigated the helicopter out of blinding clouds when the aircraft suddenly turned and plunged into the mountainside.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, filed a similar lawsuit in late February, though she named the pilot, Ara Zobayan as a defendant. Bryant alleged that Zobayan was “negligent” when he flew into heavy fog. 

Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, the three young girls and basketball teammates who were killed in the crash, were celebrated at the 2020 WNBA Draft last week. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced they would be honorary draft picks. In addition, the league created the “Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.”





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