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Vanessa Bryant, others settle suit against operator of helicopter involved in Kobe Bryant crash

Vanessa Bryant Kobe
Posted at 6:16 AM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 08:16:47-04

Vanessa Bryant and other plaintiffs agreed Tuesday to settle a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter that her husband, Kobe Bryant, was aboard when it crashed in January 2020.

According to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, Vanessa Bryant and the families of other victims killed in the crash settled the lawsuit on Tuesday. Terms of the settlement were not made public.

Nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, were killed in the crash on Jan. 26, 2020. Passengers aboard the aircraft were headed to a youth basketball game in Southern California. The helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, leaving no survivors.

Among the plaintiffs involved in the settlement were Vanessa Bryant, surviving members of the Altobelli family (father John, mother Keri and daughter Alyssa were all killed in the crash), and family members of Christina Mauser, one of the team's coaches.

The lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, Island Express Holding Corp. and the estate of the helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan, was filed in February 2020. The lawsuit alleged that Zobayan took reckless action that resulted in the crash.

Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash's probable cause was the Zobayan's decision to fly under adverse weather conditions. The NTSB ruled that the pilot had "spatial disorientation" due to bad weather and likely chose to fly because he was transporting a high-profile client.

Vanessa Bryant is currently involved in a second lawsuit related to the crash. That suit alleges that deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office took "gratuitous images" of the crash site with their cell phones and shared the photos with others. The suit alleges that the department later tried to cover up the incident.