On Tuesday, Vanessa Bryant and the other plaintiffs involved in the wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters arrived at an undisclosed settlement regarding the death of her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna, the six other passengers, and the pilot of the Sikorsky S-76B copter crash on January 26, 2020. For now, though, the agreement still awaits final court approval.
Last year, per The Blast, documents revealed Vanessa Bryant was originally seeking “hundreds of millions” of dollars in personal damages after the incident. Her suit alleged that her husband “was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of [pilot Ara] Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects.” She also wanted the estate of Ara Zobayan held liable, and the families of the other victims later joined her in her legal action against Island Express but not the pilot.
At the time of the crash, a representative for Island Express said the incident was a “tragic accident.” According to the Associated Press, the company also called it an “act of God” for which it could not have accounted, and CNN did report the aircraft was given clearance to fly that day. Berge Zobayan, brother of pilot Ara Zobayan, reckoned that Kobe Bryant was aware of the risks that come with helicopter transportation, and therefore, surviving family members should not be entitled to damages from his late brother’s estate.
In the end, the National Transportation Safety Board determined “pilot error” was the cause of the crash. The NTSB said, although Ara Zobayan was experienced, he was disoriented by the weather conditions that Sunday morning but abandoned the training and protocols that could have possibly prevented the crash. The board, however, did also acknowledge Zobayan may have been under pressure to not disappoint Bryant and to promptly get his star client to his destination.
This past Father’s Day, Vanessa Bryant remembered her husband, and she publicly shared a photo of the proud “girl dad” surrounded by his four daughters. “To the best girl dad~ Happy Father’s Day, Papi,” she captioned her IG post. “We love you forever and always, always and forever. Love you always, Nani, Gigi, B.B, Koko, and VB ❤️.”