Federal Investigators Reveal Likely Reason for Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant | Beaufort County Now | The helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant was likely caused by the pilot flying through clouds in violation of federal safety standards, investigators say. | daily wire, federal investigators, helicopter crash, kobe bryant, federal safety standards, february 9, 2021

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Federal Investigators Reveal Likely Reason for Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Tim Pearce.

    The helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant was likely caused by the pilot flying through clouds in violation of federal safety standards, investigators say.

    Federal safety investigators probing the cause of the Jan. 26, 2020, crash announced the results of their findings on Tuesday. The investigators said that the pilot, who was cleared to fly that day under visual flight rules without instruments, broke federal regulations when he allegedly flew into a cloud that obstructed his vision and likely disoriented him, according to the Associated Press.

    The crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and the seven others on board, including the pilot Ara Zobayan. The helicopter did not contain a so-called "black box" recording device often used by investigators of helicopter and plane crashes to piece together the final moments before impact.

    The crash that lead to Bryant's death has prompted numerous accusations of blame and several lawsuits. Bryant's widow, Vanessa, blamed the helicopter company. The pilot's brother, while avoiding blaming Bryant, said the basketball star knew the risks of flying in poor weather that day. The helicopter company has cast blame on air traffic controllers.

    In February of last year, Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters. Bryant alleged that Zobayan was "negligent and careless" in piloting the helicopter that day and caused the death of her husband and daughter.

    "Defendant Island Express Helicopters' breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs' deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects," the lawsuit said.

    In response to the lawsuit, Island Express Helicopters filed a cross-complaint in August against two air traffic controllers for alleged "negligent acts." The company said the flight controllers denied a request by Zobayan for a "flight following" before ensuring that the request could not be met.

    "I'm going to lose radar and comms probably pretty shortly so you can just squawk V-FR and when you get closer to Camarillo tower," the lawsuit quotes one of the flight controllers telling Zobayan.

    "This denial was improper because radar contact had not been lost and services were being denied based on the possibility they might be lost at some point in the future," the lawsuit says.

    The cross-complaint forced Bryant's lawsuit to move to federal court, a switch that Bryant's legal team argued against. Bryant's attorney's asserted that the company's cross-complaint against the flight controllers is a "transparent and untenable attempt to forum-shop their way into federal court."

    "Defendants unlawfully and improperly seek to deprive Mrs. Bryant of her lawful choice of forum in California state court," Bryant's attorneys said in a September court filing.


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