Vanessa Bryant, the wife of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, is suing the company that owned the helicopter that crashed and killed Kobe, her daughter, Gianna, and seven other victims, according to TMZ. She claims the helicopter should have never been in danger before the accident. The lawsuit also says the pilot was going 180 miles per hour in heavy fog and he failed to monitor the weather prior to takeoff.
The lawsuit claims that the company, Island Express, was only allowed to fly under visual flight rules and the conditions of the day of the crash were not "conducive for such flying." The lawsuit also states that the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, was disciplined in 2015 for flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.
TMZ says the lawsuit doesn't list an amount of damages sought, but Vanessa is asking for punitive damages as she claims the pilot and the company were reckless; it's possible the damages could cost millions.
There has been a debate about the helicopter traveling due to the weather conditions.
"This was totally avoidable, and on the part of some people I can go as far as to say irresponsible," Robert Ditchey, a longtime airplane pilot, aeronautical engineer and former airline executive, said to USA Today. "Here's one of the most important people in the world who comes to a tragic end like this and you say, 'Why? What the hell happened?'"
"They're in the fog, and you're down hugging the ground trying to fly up the highway and barely able to see it," Ditchey continued. "He's down only 100 feet or so above the ground. In that area of the San Fernando Valley you have mountains on either side of you … and the clouds have obscured them, and you don't have that much room to maneuver."
It's not known if the families of the other victims are suing Island Express. When Zobayan was punished by the FAA in 2015 for his incident, it was reported that this is something he would not do again.
"There are no indications that this is a repeated incident and there are no signs that this incident is a trend with Mr. Zobayan or any other [Island Express Helicopter] personnel," the investigator wrote about the reported incident.