Helicopter Co. Blames 13 Y.O. Gigi Bryant For Crash; Says She Had “Appreciation Of The Risks”
Vanessa Bryant – along with the two of the families of the victims involved in the fateful crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester in January of this year – recently filed wrongful death lawsuits against Island Express Helicopters Inc., which operated the Sikorsky, and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp. In court documents, the families are holding Island Express accountable for “negligently and carelessly breached their duty to own, lease, manage, maintain, control, entrust, charter, and operate the Subject Helicopter in a reasonable manner,”.
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Now, Island Express has defended the charges. As reported by TMZ, court documents show that the company has responded to Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit with:
“Kobe Bryant and GB [Gigi] had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident, injury … thereby barring or reducing [Vanessa’s] claim for damages.”
Which basically translates to: Kobe & Gigi knew what the risks were, they decided to take the risk and therefore, they are accountable for what happened after as a result of their negligence.
Not only that, but the company shifts the blame off themselves by citing the defence that it was an “Act of God”. The defence is used when a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent (such as an earthquake) happens and Island Express has used it to say that the accident was the result “of an unavoidable accident.” Island Express also goes on to say that helicopter flying is “inherently dangerous” and someone like the pilot should have warned them of the risks, and that it is not the company’s responsibility.
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My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️
Although Vanessa Bryant and the families who have filed the suit never name the pilot and his defence for the crash, the representative of the pilot who was flying the helicopter has also claimed that the people on board were responsible for the fatal crash. In response to her suit, Berge Zobayan, the pilot’s brother put the blame on the victims by saying,
“This negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages,”
According to records, Island Express has been involved in four different crashes since 1985 before the crash involving Kobe Byrant. These crashes caused damage to and/or destroyed helicopters under the company’s previous management.
Our love goes out to the families involved. We hope that an agreement can be reached so that all parties can get peace of mind and heart.
*Cover image credits: Background: eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash Left: Art by @_vivalareina, as posted by Vanessa Bryant on Instagram Right: Vanessa Bryant on Instagram