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Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Helicopter Operator for Deaths

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Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant speaks during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. - Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
BRIAN MELLEY
Kobe Bryant's widow on Monday sued the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed the former Los Angeles Lakers star and their 13-year-old daughter last month.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant in Los Angeles Superior Court said the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions Jan. 26 and should have aborted the flight.
Pilot Ara Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash.
The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc. and also targets Zobayan's legal representative, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.
Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit 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.
The lawsuit was filed as a public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all the victims, including Zobayan, was being held at the arena where Bryant played most of his career.
Calls to Island Express seeking comment were not answered and its voicemail was full.
The company issued a statement Jan. 30 on its website saying the shock of the crash had prompted it to suspend service until it was appropriate for staff and customers.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash into a hillside in Calabasas on the outskirts of Los Angeles County.
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