TMZ: Families of Kobe Bryant Crash Victims Sue Helicopter Company

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

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

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."

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.

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..."

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.

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My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️

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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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