A representative of the pilot who was flying the helicopter carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter Gianna, and six others when it crashed and killed everyone onboard spoke out this week to shockingly blame the passengers for the deadly incident. Both the pilot and Island Express are blaming the victims as their defensive strategy to Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit.
Pilot’s Family Blames Kobe Bryant And Fellow Passengers For Crash
TMZ reported that a relative of pilot Ara George Zobayan is firing back after Bryant’s wife Vanessa filed a lawsuit against Zobayan and Island Express, the helicopter company that owned the aircraft.
The relative had this to say:
“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, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility.”
The statement is shockingly callous given the fact that three children were killed in the crash.
It also ignored the fact that Zobayan, an experienced pilot, agreed to fly the helicopter that day. The pilot knew that the LAPD and others had grounded their helicopter fleet because of fog and poor visibility.
Investigators also found that Zobayan was flying at 184mph when he crashed into a hill in Calabasas, California.
Island Express Blames The Victims As Well
Even so, shifting blame to the passengers is a strategy seemingly shared by both Zobayan’s family and Island Express. Both the pilot and the helicopter company chose this argument in response to Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit.
NBC News reported that Island Express said in court documents filed on Monday in Los Angeles that Bryant “had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved” in the flight and chose to board anyway.
The company added that they are not responsible and that the crash was “an act of God.”
Vanessa Bryant Files Her Lawsuit
Vanessa filed her lawsuit back in February, arguing that Island Express and Zobayan had the “duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances.”
The suit went on to accuse Zobayan of failing to properly assess the weather data before taking off on January 26, the morning of the crash.
It’s understandable that this legal case is going to get a bit messy. But blaming the victims of this tragedy for their own demise in such a heartless statement goes too far.
Each of these families are still grieving the losses of their loved ones. So this callous statement by the pilot’s family is the last thing they need to hear.
Kobe Bryant and the rest of these passengers deserve greater respect than this. RIP.