Vanessa Bryant Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Island Express Helicopters

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Vanessa Bryant has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against both Island Express Helicopters and the estate of the helicopter pilot involved in the January 2020 crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.

According to court documents filed on Tuesday, the terms of the settlement are being kept confidential. The plaintiffs included Bryant as well as the family members of three other victims of the crash, with the defendants being Island Express Helicopters and the estate of the pilot who was operating the helicopter.

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Vanessa Bryant originally filed the wrongful death lawsuit in February of 2020, which alleged that the pilot was negligent and careless in a way that directly contributed to the deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, as well as the other seven passengers on board. Vanessa Bryant also alleged that Island Express’ FAA operating certificate prevented pilots from flying in the foggy conditions during which the crash took place, therefore meaning that the pilot had violated their rules.

On Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant and his daughter were traveling to her basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, when the helicopter crashed into a Calabasas hillside amid extensive fog. In an audio recording from air traffic control, the controller can be heard telling the pilot that they were “still too low level” to be tracked on the radar.

In May, Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Vanessa Bryant gave a speech in his honor. “There will never be anyone like Kobe,” Vanessa Bryant said in her speech. “Kobe was one of a kind. He was special, he was humble off the court, but bigger than life.”

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