The relatives of four of the nine helicopter crash victims joined Kobe Bryant's widow in seeking for justice by filing separate wrongful death lawsuits against Island Express Helicopters.
In February 2020, Vanessa Bryant first filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court following the death of her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in January. The matriarch stated in the document that it was irresponsible of Ara Zobayan, the pilot, to still fly despite cloudy conditions instead of aborting the flight.
The legal battle continues to tread on, as the families of John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, and Christina Mauser also submitted separate legal actions to support Vanessa.
In a report published by TMZ, it revealed that the two new lawsuits from Altobelli and Mauser's households asserted that Island Express was negligent as they have failed to maintain their responsibility to "own, lease, manage, maintain, control, entrust, charter, and operate the helicopter in a reasonable manner."
They also claimed that, as a consequence of the company's dereliction, their loved ones tragically died in the helicopter crash in Calabasas.
A part of the lawsuit stated how the families are now seeking physical, emotional and mental damages, including the wages which the victims could have earned.
Aside from the operator, the families are also suing the owner of the craft, Island Express Holding Corp., and Zobayan's representative,
"An initial National Transportation Safety Board report said there were no signs of engine failure from the wreckage recovered. Zobayan had nearly navigated the helicopter out of blinding clouds when the aircraft suddenly turned and plunged into the mountainside," the Associated Press reported.
What Happened To the Aircraft?
To recall, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said during the initial investigation that "there was no chance for survival."
The available flight records unveiled that the aircraft passed over Boyle Heights near Dodger Stadium and circled over Glendale during the flight and flew at about 1,700 feet when it crashed.
In January 2020, NTSB disclosed that the final transmission had recorded how Zoboyan informed the air traffic control that they had to climb to avoid foggy conditions at the speed of 161 knots. They recorded the last radar communication at around 9:45 a.m. (12:45 p.m. ET), which they received after the helicopter reached 2,300 feet and began a left descending turn.
"So we know that this was a high energy impact crash, and the helicopter was in a descending left bank," the investigator said.
Meanwhile, NTSB investigator Jennifer Homendy checked the debris and described what happened as something "pretty devastating."
"There is an impact area on one of the hills, and a piece of the tail is down the hill on the left side of the hill," Homendy sadly uttered in a conference a few days after the tragedy. "The fuselage is on the other side of that hill. Then the main rotor is about a hundred yards beyond that. The debris field is about 500 to 600 feet."