Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

Vanessa Bryant, Other Plaintiffs Reach Settlement in Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant, Daughter, Seven Others

Vanessa Bryant brought the case on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of herself and her surviving three daughters, including the youngest, Capri.

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Vanessa Bryant has reached a settlement in her lawsuit against the company that owned and operated the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas last year, killing her husband -- Laker legend Kobe Bryant -- and their 13-year-old daughter, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

The settlement with Island Express Helicopters, subsidiary OC Helicopters and the estate of the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, also includes surviving relatives of the other passengers who died in the crash.

Terms of the settlement are being kept confidential, according to the court documents.

"The material terms of the settlement and releases are known to the settling parties and include that the terms of the settlement are confidential," according to the papers filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

"The settling parties are currently finalizing settlement documents, which includes the necessary documentation for approving compromise of the minors' claims."

The settlement also resolves the suit by the surviving family members of John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; as well as Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser, who were also killed in the crash.

The documents filed by Vanessa Bryant's legal team indicate the other families were also part of the settlement.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died when the helicopter slammed into a Calabasas hillside on Jan. 26, 2020. Zobayan was also killed, along with six other passengers.

Vanessa Bryant filed her lawsuit against Island Express one month later, on the day a memorial service was held honoring her late husband at a packed Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The suit -- and others that followed by survivors of other passengers, alleged that the helicopter flight should have been aborted due to poor weather and visibility conditions.

Island Express subsequently filed a suit of its own against the federal government, seeking to lay blame for the crash on failures by airtraffic controllers. That litigation is still pending.

Zobayan was flying Bryant and the other passengers from Orange County to Camarillo for a youth basketball game, in which the retired Laker would have coached his daughter's team.

Kobe Bryant was committed to going the extra mile in the pursuit of greatness, says KNBC sports anchor Fred Roggin, who covered the Lakers all-star and MVP for years. Roggin talked about the emotional induction ceremony placing Bryant in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2020.

Along with Bryant, 41, and his daughter, also killed in the crash were: -- Altobelli, 56, longtime coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team, along with his wife, Keri, 46, and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa, who was a teammate of Gianna on Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy basketball team; -- Sarah Chester, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter Payton, who also played with Gianna and Alyssa;

-- Mauser, 38, one of Bryant's assistant coaches on the Mamba Academy team; and

-- Zobayan, 50.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded earlier this year that Zobayan became disoriented in heavy fog that left him unable to discern up from down, causing him to crash the Sikorsky S-76-B helicopter. The NTSB concluded that pilot error was the probable cause of the crash, saying Zobayan believed he was ascending above the fog while he was actually descending at high speed.

Vanessa Bryant still has a lawsuit pending against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department over photos that were taken by deputies at the crash scene and shared inside and outside the agency.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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