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Kobe Bryant’s widow files wrongful death suit against helicopter company

Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp., which operated the helicopter that crashed last month, killing her husband and daughter Gianna along with seven other people.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, accuses pilot Ara Zobayan, who was also killed in the crash, of negligence and failure to “use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the 27-count lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit specifically alleges that Zobayan had previously been cited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for rule violations, and says that Island Express’s FAA operating certificate barred pilots from flying under the low clouds and heavy fog that grounded other aircraft in the area Jan. 26.

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions,” the complaint said, adding that the company “promoted and engaged in unnecessary and needlessly risky means of transport under the circumstances.”

Reached for comment by The Hill, Island Express referred questions to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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