Four months after nine individuals passed away in a horrific helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, the families of some of the victims of the crash are now suing the helicopter company. On January 26, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 14-year-old daughter Giana Bryant, Orange County baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa, and his wife Keri, assistant coach Christina Mauser, loving mom Sarah Chester, her daughter Payton Chester, and the pilot Ara Zobayan were traveling to a youth basketball game when the helicopter crashed in the hills of California.
Now the Altobelli family and the Mauser family, in addition to the Bryant family, have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Island Express, the owners and operators of the helicopter that crashed that day. Two of the complaints made by the Altobelli family and the Mauser family were filed on April 17.
The documents, which were obtained by People, the Altobelli family claimed that Island Express responsible for the “negligence or in some other actionable manner” for the crash, and therefore “legally and approximately caused the deaths” of John, Alyssa, and Keri. And the Mauser family makes a similar claim in their lawsuit as well.
Families of 4 of the Victims in the Helicopter Crash
According to People, he complaints added that Island Express “carelessly breached their own duty to own, lease, manage, maintain, control, entrust, charter and operate” the helicopter in a “reasonable manner.” It went on to say that because of the company’s “careless, negligent, and unlawful conduct,” the family’s surviving members have suffered a loss of financial support and other non-monetary damages, including a “loss of love, affection … companionship, solace and mental support.”
In February, Vanessa Bryant also filed a wrongful death lawsuit as well, according to CNN. In Bryant’s claims, the documents state that it’s believed “the pilot failed to safely operate the aircraft.”
As CNN reports, the claims also state that Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff, failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions, and failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”
While Island Express has yet to respond to the Altobelli and Mauser lawsuits, the company did issues a statement following Bryant’s filling. “This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation.”
Zobayan worked for Island Express for 10 years prior to the crash. He was disciplined once before in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums.
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