Vanessa Bryant files wrongful death lawsuit against helicopter company, pilot

State News

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, attend the skills competition at the NBA basketball All-Star Saturday Night in Dallas. Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from the Lakers star, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter that crashed last month in Calabasas, killing her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna, and 7 other people.

According to TMZ, the lawsuit alleges the helicopter company – Island Express – was only allowed to fly under visual flight rules and that the conditions the day of the crash were not suitable for such flying.

The helicopter was flying in foggy weather considered dangerous enough that local police departments had grounded their choppers.

The lawsuit also claims that the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, was going 180 mph in the heavy fog in a steep decline, and that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of “reduced visibility.”

The lawsuit does not list an amount of damages sought, TMZ reports, but Vanessa is asking for punitive damages, claiming Zobayan and Island Express were “reckless.”

The news comes just before a public memorial service is scheduled for Kobe and daughter Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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