Kobe Bryant crash: Pilot's family responds to Vanessa Bryant's wrongful death lawsuit, blaming victims

ByTJ Holmes
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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Responding to a lawsuit filed by Bryant's widow, a relative of the pilot saying the passengers knew the risks when they boarded the chopper.

New developments are emerging in the legal aftermath of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.

A relative of the pilot is responding to a lawsuit filed by Bryant's widow, saying the passengers knew the risks when they boarded the chopper.

In a legal filing, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the 6 passengers who died in that January helicopter crash are now being blamed for their own deaths.

RELATED: Southern California helicopter crash: What we know about all 9 victims

In response to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kobe's wife, Vanessa, a relative for the helicopter pilot says the victims bear responsibility.

"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," the filing stated.

Vanessa Bryant, as well as other passengers' families, have sued the companies that own and operate the helicopter, but Bryant's lawsuit specifically names the pilot, Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash. She is seeking damages from his estate, saying he failed to abort the flight and to monitor and assess the weather.

RELATED: Kobe Bryant lawsuit: Vanessa Bryant submits wrongful death claim over helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna

The preliminary NTSB investigation found no signs of engine failure.

The company, Island Express, sent an earlier statement simply saying, "This was a tragic accident. We will have no further comment on the pending litigation."

RELATED: Kobe Bryant crash: Sheriff says 8 deputies involved in taking unauthorized photos of scene

According to People Magazine, Bryant filed another claim on Friday, this time against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. She alleging that at least eight deputies took and shared photos of the aftermath from the January 26 crash, which she reportedly claims worsened her emotional distress.