Vanessa Bryant and Families of Crash Victims Settle With Helicopter Company

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the basketball star Kobe Bryant, and the family members of the other victims in a deadly helicopter crash in January 2020 reached a settlement with the charter company that operated the helicopter.

Terms of the settlement were confidential and it is awaiting court approval.

Vanessa Bryant had filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters and its owner, Island Express Holding Corporation, arguing that the company had not properly trained the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, and that he had shown negligence in his flying.

In response to the lawsuit, Island Express Helicopters had denied responsibility for the crash, labeling it “an act of God.” The company countersued two Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, stating their “series of erroneous acts and/or omissions” had caused the crash.

Kobe Bryant, a longtime member of the Los Angeles Lakers who was recently posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people on board were killed in the crash. They had been traveling to a youth basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., when the helicopter slammed into a hill near Calabasas, Calif.

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