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Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter firm over husband, Kobe Bryant and daughter, Gianna’s death

Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter firm over husband, Kobe Bryant and daughter, Gianna’s death

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The widow of US basketball legend Kobe Bryant is suing the owner of the helicopter that crashed last month, killing her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Bryant, Gianna and seven others died when the helicopter they were in crashed in fog on 26 January. In the lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant says the pilot was negligent for flying in such poor weather. It was filed shortly before a memorial service held in Los Angeles. Island Express Helicopters and the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, had a “duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances,” the suit says. It alleges that Zobayan – who died in the crash – did not assess weather data before taking off.

What do we know about the crash?

Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating when the pilot was able to see clearly while flying. The aircraft – a Sikorsky S-76B – went down into a hillside outside the city of Calabasas. Conditions were foggy when the flight took off, and local police had grounded their helicopters due to the poor weather. The pilot asked air traffic controllers for a special clearance, known as Special Visual Flight Rules, to fly in less than optimal weather, said NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy, who went to the crash scene to collect evidence.

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