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Brother of Pilot Who Crashed Kobe’s Helicopter Says It’s Passengers’ Fault

Berge Zobayan argues that his brother “bears no responsibility" for the high-speed helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gigi, six others

We are all still mourning Kobe Bryant’s death, but the brother of pilot Ara Geroge Zobayan, is trying to protect his family’s estate and says that Island Express (the helicopter company) should have never let the helicopter leave that morning and they — along with the seven passengers — were responsible for what happened.

In an answer to Vanessa Bryant’s wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of pilot Ara Zobayan, Berge Zobayan argues in an answer that his brother “bears no responsibility” for the high-speed helicopter crash that killed Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and six others on a morning of blinding fog on January 26th. 

In fact, Zobayan has the audacity to say that it was the passengers who are at fault.

Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the representative said.

According to Zobayan, the NBA star accepted the risks of flying in a helicopter, so his family has no right to money from the pilot’s estate.

“This negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the filing argues.

Vanessa Bryant filed her wrongful death claim in February, naming Zobayan and the helicopter company who owned the chopper, Island Express, as defendants.

The lawsuit alleged that Island Express was only certified to fly under visual flight rules, meaning with adequate visibility, and that foggy conditions the day of the tragedy should have grounded the chopper before it slammed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif.

Island Express had not yet answered the complaint as of Monday morning, according to an online docket.

“On information and belief, the pilot in command, Ara George Zobayan, was required to fly only in conditions that he could navigate visually,” Vanessa Bryant’s 72-page complaint said.

The day of the tragedy, Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff” and “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions,” the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court said.

“Zobayan attempted to maneuver the helicopter up and forward to clear the clouds, then entered a turn sending the helicopter into the steep terrain at approximately 180 mph,” the paperwork said.

The company “knew or should have known” that Zobayan “had previously been cited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for violating the visual flight rules (VFR) minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility,” the lawsuit said.

With the victims and pilot unable to speak for themselves, all we have left is speculation and whatever the investigation revealed. While it’s understandable that the pilot’s brother is not only trying to protect his kin’s estate, trying to blame the victims is classless.

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