The helicopter company Island Express, that operated the helicopter that claimed the lives of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and 7 others are suing the air traffic controllers.
According to new reports, the charter company Island Express Helicopters is blaming two air traffic controllers for the accident. A cross-complaint was filed, alleging that “a series of erroneous acts and/or omissions” by the air traffic controllers resulted in the crash. Matthew Conley and Kyle Larsen have reportedly been identified as the two controllers.
The complaint says,
Had Larsen and Conley not engaged in the numerous negligent acts and/or omissions stated herein, then the Pilot [Ara Zobayan] would not have been forced to respond to multiple [air traffic control] requests and commands during the most critical phase of the flight.
According to documents made public by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Kobe Bryant’s pilot Ara Zobayan was told the night before the fateful crash that there may be weather issues that could impact the flight.
It was reported that the broker that arranged Kobe Bryant’s helicopter flight told the pilot that there could be weather issues, however, Ara Zobayan in a text to the broker assured the broker and the drivers that the weather conditions “should be ok”.
An hour and a half after the text from Ara Zobayan, the helicopter crashed into a foggy hillside in Calabasas, California claiming the lives of Kobe, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13; Gianna’s basketball teammates Alyssa Altobelli, 14, and Payton Chester, 13; Alyssa’s parents, John Altobelli, 56, and Keri Altobelli, 46; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester, 45; the girls’ coach Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
There has been a lot of finger-pointing when it comes to who is to blame for the crash. Vanessa Bryant is suing Ara Zobayan’s estate blaming him for the crash.
The families of the 4 victims as well as Vanessa Bryant have wrongful death lawsuits against Island Express.