Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Pilot's Rep Blames Accident on Passengers

The helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people has taken another turn. According to TMZ, a representative for the pilot flying the helicopter claims the passengers on board, not the pilot or helicopter company, were responsible for the crash. The claim is a response to Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, filing a lawsuit against the helicopter company, Island Express. The representative is a relative of the pilot, Ara Zobayan, and said Island Express is not responsible for the crash.

"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, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility," the representative stated. TMZ said the answer to the lawsuit doesn't address how the passengers might have been negligent.

Vanessa filed her lawsuit against Island Express in February. She claimed the helicopter shouldn't have been in danger before the accident. The lawsuit also stated the helicopter was going 180 miles per hour in bad weather conditions. "On information and belief, Defendant Island Express Helicopters employed Defendant Zobayan with conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others and authorized or ratified his wrong conduct, and itself engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud," the complaint reads.

Families of the other victims have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Island Express. They claim that Island Express was negligent in hiring Zobayan and the decision to fly in the weather conditions the day of the crash. They also claimed the company "breached" its "duty to own, lease, manage, maintain, control, entrust, charter and operate" the helicopter at the crash.

This news comes on the heels of Vanessa celebrating her birthday and first Mother's Day without Bryant and Gianna. For Vanessa's birthday, she shared a letter that Bryant wrote to her before his death. "Yesterday I found an envelope labeled To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi [Heart Emoji] I waited to open one more letter on my birthday," Vanessa won't on Instagram. It gave me something to look forward to today. [Heart Emoji] Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita- my fellow Taurus. Grateful to wake up to my 3 sweet girls today. Wish we were all together."