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Kobe Bryant and daughter flew at own risk, say pilot’s family

Family of pilot who flew Kobe Bryant and his daughter say their deaths were their own fault and that they knew the risks of flying, in biting response to negligence lawsuit from the basketball star’s widow

  • The family of the pilot involved in the fatal helicopter crash that took the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, as responded to a lawsuit filed by his widow Vanessa
  • The family of pilot Ara Zobayan in court papers says the passengers on the fatal Jan. 26 flight are to blame for their own deaths
  • The legal documents say that Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others who died in the crash knowingly and voluntarily accept the risks  
  • All nine victims of the crash died when Bryant’s helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, on January 26
  • Bryant’s widow filed suit against the helicopter company  February 24 alleging Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions 

The family of the pilot involved in the fatal helicopter crash that took the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others earlier this year has blamed the passengers for their own deaths. 

The family of pilot Ara Zobayan in court papers responding to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the helicopter company by Bryant’s widow Vanessa says that injuries or damages suffered by those on board the fatal January 26 crash, ‘were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs.’ 

That’s because the passengers knowingly and voluntarily accepted the risks involved in taking the flight, say the legal documents.

The family of Ara Zobayan (pictured), the pilot involved in the fatal helicopter crash that took the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna,13, and seven others earlier this year, has blamed the passengers for their own deaths

Zobayan’s family in court papers responding to a wrongful death lawsuit says that injuries or damages suffered by those on board the fatal January 26 crash, ‘were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs.’ Bryant is pictured with his daughter Gianna

‘Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved,’ the family of the pilot wrote in its response to the suit, The Blast reports. 

It was not clear what family members of the pilot’s were responding to the widow’s lawsuit. Zoboyan, 50, left behind a girlfriend of 11 years and her two children who he treated like his own, a close friend has revealed to DailyMail.com. 

The pilot’s family further says in the court papers ‘that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility.’

In the same filing, Zobayan’s family also notes that several third parties could have contributed to the flight’s ultimate fate in accounting for responsibility in the fatal crash.

The family says ‘that any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence, fault or wrongful conduct of third parties, whom this answering defendant neither controlled nor had the right to control, and for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility.’ 

Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed the wrongful death suit on February 24 against Island Express Helicopter. An unnamed legal representative for the deceased pilot also was named in the legal action.

Bryant and is pictured in a family photo posted on social media by his widow Vanessa

Bryant and is pictured in a family photo posted on social media by his widow Vanessa

Bryant's widow Vanessa filed the wrongful death suit on February 24 against Island Express Helicopter. An unnamed legal representative for the deceased pilot also was named in the legal action. Vanessa is pictured at a service in Los Angeles for her late husband in February

Bryant’s widow Vanessa filed the wrongful death suit on February 24 against Island Express Helicopter. An unnamed legal representative for the deceased pilot also was named in the legal action. Vanessa is pictured at a service in Los Angeles for her late husband in February

First responders are pictured at the crash site in Calabasas, California

First responders are pictured at the crash site in Calabasas, California

A National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, investigator sifts through the wreckage

A National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, investigator sifts through the wreckage

Another NTSB investigator examines the helicopter crash site

Another NTSB investigator examines the helicopter crash site 

The suit alleges Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions.

The litigation asserts that Zobayan was negligent in eight different ways, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn’t cleared for and failing to control the helicopter. 

‘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 lawsuit reads. 

Island Express issued a statement on its website just days after the crash saying the shock of the accident had prompted it to suspend service until it was appropriate for staff and customers.

The company, which has since resumed operations, did not immediately respond when DailyMail.com reached out.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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