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April 23, 2020

TMZ: Families of Kobe Bryant Crash Victims Sue Helicopter Company

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The families of four of the victims who were involved in the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant filed a lawsuit against the Helicopter company.

On January 26, the world was shocked by the news of the tragic death of former LA Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, in a helicopter crash. 

The crash also claimed the life of the retired Lakers player's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, along with seven other people who accompanied them on the helicopter ride.

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on January 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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Now, the surviving family members of the Mauser family and Altobelli family — Christina Mauser's husband, her son, and two daughters, the two surviving Altobelli children respectively — have filed a lawsuit against the helicopter company.

In the lawsuit, the surviving family members claim Island Express's negligent handling of the situation was the reason for the death of their loved ones.

The complaints alleged that Island Express "carelessly breached their own duty to own, lease, manage, maintain, control, entrust, charter and operate" the helicopter involved in the crash in a "reasonable manner."

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The pair of identical lawsuits comes barely two months after Bryant's widow, Vanessa, the mother of Gianna, also filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters Inc., which operates the Sikorsky, and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp.

Vanessa Bryant filed the suit on the day her husband's large public memorial service was held in February at the staples center. 

The helicopter company is yet to respond to the lawsuit.

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In her suit, she alleged that Zobayan, the pilot, was careless and negligent to fly in the fog and had enough reason to have aborted the flight.

The suit also shows that Vanessa Bryant is claiming general, economic, and punitive damages. A part of the lawsuit reads:

"Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable for any and all actions of Ara George Zobayan, including his negligent and careless piloting and operation..."

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No figures were quoted in the lawsuit, but the numbers being rumored are said to be substantial and could put the helicopter company in a financial crisis.

On the fateful day of the crash, the group was heading to a basketball tournament, when the chopper crashed in through a thick fog northwest of Los Angeles.

Others who were killed in the crash include Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was one of Gianna's teammates.

The helicopter company is yet to respond to the lawsuit, and much remains to be seen as the drama continues to unfold.

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