Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Laker great Kobe Bryant, on Monday filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter that crashed into a California hillside last month, killing her husband, 13-year-old daughter and seven others.


The suit was filed on the same day that thousands of fans gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, to remember Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

The lawsuit alleges that the helicopter company, Island Express, was “vicariously liable” for any and all actions of pilot Ara George Zobayan, including his “negligent and careless piloting …”

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters authorized and/or permitted a flight with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying to into unsafe weather conditions,” the suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges.


The suit also faults Zobayan for failing to “properly monitor and assess” the weather before takeoff and for failing to “abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions.”


In an emailed statement, a spokesman for Island Express said: “This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation.”


Bryant, who regularly flew in helicopters, was traveling with Gianna and the others to a basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, when they were killed in the Jan. 26 crash near Calabasas, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.


The investigation is ongoing, but many have focused on the poor weather conditions the morning of the crash.

There were low clouds and restricted visibility in the area.


Video included as part of an update released this month by investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board, showed the helicopter disappearing into clouds, before emerging.

A witness on a nearby mountain bike trail spotted the helicopter shortly before it slammed into a hillside.


The NTSB’s report did not indicate why the helicopter crashed. An analysis of the crash site and the witness’s account indicated the engine was supplying power to the helicopter’s rotors right up until the moment of impact.

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