Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of the Lakers legend and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, according to news reports. Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and six others including their pilot Ara Zobayan lost their lives in a tragic plane last month in Calabasas, California. The news came after recent reports revealed that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was disciplined in 2015 for Airspace Violation.
The lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. seek general, economic and punitive damages. According to the lawsuit, the company’s breach of ‘duty and negligence’ was the cause of their deaths. It added that Ara Zobayan’s ‘negligent conduct’ cause Kobe Bryant and Gianna’s death, for which the helicopter company is ‘vicariously liable’.
In 2015, Ara Zobayan was disciplined for violating flight rules for which he had received counselling. He was working for Island Express Helicopters during that time. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) had released their preliminary report of the tragedy. According to NTSB, the helicopter showed no sign of engine failure. The helicopter was also reportedly around 100 feet away from clear skies.
According to reports, sources close to the Bryant family state that Vanessa Bryant and the family needed a private funeral. The ceremony was very hard on everyone. The source stated that the family is still trying to grasp the loss of the 'two beautiful souls'. Vanessa Bryant had recently shared on Instagram that it was difficult for her to deal with both their deaths as she is unable to process them at the same time.
As previously reported, Kobe Bryant’s pilot Ara Zobayan was trying to climb up while he was around 100 feet above the ground. Zobayan was allowed to fly below the flight following radar by the FAA regulations. As per the rules, he would stay legal as long as he could see half a mile and stayed away from the cloud. However, Ara Zobayan decided to climb a higher altitude so he could see better. He would have been at 4000 feet, comfortably above the clouds at 2400 feet.
The problem, however, was climbing 500 vertical feet of clouds. According to experts, it is ‘deliberately’ breaking Visual Flight Rules. It is illegal to fly up to a cloud layer is because of high possibility of a disaster, which is what happened. Without reference to the ground, the pilot can become disoriented, lose track of their way up and end up crashing. News reports also reveal that nine months ago, Ara Zobayan had received proficiency training in ‘inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions and unusual attitude recovery’, which was the exact cause of the helicopter’s crash.