Roughly four months after the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, the brother of the pilot during the helicopter crash responded to Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit and blamed the passengers for the tragedy.
It could be recalled that in February, Kobe's widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit against pilot Ara Zobayan and the flying company that manages the helicopter that crashed on Jan. 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California.
The lawsuit alleges that Zobayan, who also died in the crash, failed "to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft."
It says that it was Zobayan's negligence as he failed to monitor and assess the weather condition accurately before flying the aircraft. The complaint also noted that the pilot did not obtain proper weather report before takeoff, failed to abort despite awareness of the cloudy condition, unable to control the helicopter, and failed to avoid "natural obstacles" during the flight.
The 38-year-old widow demands emotional damages for the trauma that the passengers experienced during the "pre-impact terror" or as the aircraft struggle to steer away from the heavy fog before it crashed on the mountain.
Pilot's Brother Dispute Lawsuit Claims
To dispute Vanessa's lawsuit, the pilot's brother Berge Zobayan filed a counter-complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court, passing the blame to the passengers for the tragic crash.
In his response, Berge said that the 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers legend is very much aware of the risks of flying on that day. He argued that Kobe's surviving family is not entitled to demand damages from the pilot's estate.
"Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility," the reply stated.
The response of the pilot's brother is quite shocking, as the Los Angeles Police Department and other law enforcement units concluded that the tragic crash was due to fog and poor visibility.
The authorities said that 15 minutes before being cleared to fly to their location, the pilot had to circle the Griffith Park area to make sure it is safe to operate. The police report also showed that the pilot was going 184 MPH in the middle of a building fog when the aircraft crashed into a hill, killing everyone on board.
Kobe, her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six other passengers were en route to a basketball tournament at the NBA star's very own Mamba Academy. Unfortunately, the helicopter they were riding crashed.
The tragic crash also took the lives of baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.