Brother of Pilot in Helicopter Crash Which Killed Kobe and Gigi Bryant Says Passengers are to Blame

kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

The brother of the pilot whose helicopter crashed carrying NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna as well as six others has responded to Vanessa Bryant’s wrongful death lawsuit.

In court documents obtained by "Entertainment Tonight," Berge Zobayan, the brother of late pilot Ara Zobayan, says the passengers were responsible for their fatal January 26 helicopter crash.

"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 documents filed by Berge on May 8 claimed.

Following the crash, Kobe’s widow filed a wrongful death suit against Ara’s estate as well as Island Express Helicopters, the company that owned the helicopter.

Vanessa claimed claimed the pilot "had a duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances."

During the January 26 incident, Kobe and his daughter, along with John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Christina Mauser, were traveling to a high school basketball game when the chopper crashed.

Poor visibility due to thick fog has been cited as what brought down the helicopter that fateful Sunday.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit also alleged that Island Express Helicopters had "advance knowledge of the unfitness" of Ara due to a previous violation in 2015. She is asking for punitive damages.

Island Express Helicopters has responded to Vanessa Bryant’s claims in the court documents obtained by "Entertainment Tonight" saying passengers “had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assume the risk of the accident, injury, and damages."

The company maintains the incident was “an unavoidable accident and not proximately caused by any alleged act or omission on the part."


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