It looks like the blame is just getting shifted once again as no one wants to take responsibility for the tragic death Kobe Bryant.
Island Express, the company that operated the helicopter that killed Kobe, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others, is now suing two air traffic controllers who they claim caused the fatal crash.
According to an update shared by TMZ, the company alleges that Kyle Larsen and Matthew Conley caused stress to late pilot Ara Zobayan and distracted him while he was flying the aircraft through foggy weather over Calabasas on January 26. The group was headed to Bryant’s youth sports academy in Thousand Oaks, California that morning for a basketball tournament, but the chopper tragically crashed into a hillside, killing all passengers inside.
In their latest legal action, the company claims the controllers denied the pilot the use of life-saving radar when they needed it. When Zobayan asked for guidance to get through the difficult weather conditions, Larsen allegedly replied:
“I’m going to lose radar and comms probably pretty shortly so you can just squawk V-F-R and when you get closer go to Camarillo tower.”
Conley then relieved Larsen from his post and according to the suit, he was unhelpful and uninformed about the ongoing situation. At one point, communication was lost and Island Express claims the controller caused their pilot stress by repeatedly calling to get back in contact.
If true, that really is awful — but does it relieve Island Express of its own responsibility?
This claim comes months after Vanessa Bryant pursued her own wrongful death lawsuit against IE and Zobayan back in May for their gross negligence before and during the flight. The momma of four said both parties “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff” and should’ve aborted the trip altogether. However, reps for the late pilot responded by saying that passengers understood the potential dangers of flying that day.
But they aren’t just defending themselves anymore. With these new claims, it sounds like the helicopter company is hoping to just shift that responsibility right over to someone else.
Relatives of the other six passengers are also suing the company. It won’t bring anyone peace or their loved ones back, but we surely hope these legal battles end with a resolution that feels right for everyone involved.
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