Kobe Bryant crash passengers blamed for accident by pilot's representative

Jan 17, 2020; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Kobe Bryant poses for a portrait inside of his office in Costa Mesa, California. Bryant, one of the greatest NBA players in history, is building an impressive resume in his post-basketball career, including winning an Academy Award [Mandatory Credit: Harrison Hill-USA TODAY]

The representative of the pilot who flew the doomed helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter and six other passengers, has suggested those on board were to blame.

NBA legend Bryant died at the age of 41 in January when his helicopter into a hillside in California.

The pilot, Ara George Zobayan, also died in the crash but his representative has now accused the passengers of "negligence".

In response to Bryant's wife Vanessa's lawsuit against the pilot and the helicopter company, Island Express, the representative has said: "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 statement was revealed by TMZ and comes after Ms. Bryant filed a lawsuit alleging that Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp, were only allowed to fly under visual flight rules, and the conditions the day of the crash were not conducive to such flying.

The complaint, heard in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also claims the pilot failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was “negligent”.

Additionally, it alleges that the pilot was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.

Ms Bryant has also filed a claim against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, contending deputies shared unauthorized photos of the site where her husband and daughter died in a helicopter crash in January.

In the claim, Vanessa Bryant contends that Sheriff Alex Villanueva "personally assured her" that the family's privacy would be protected as it related to the crash site.

Her husband and daughter were part of a group traveling to a youth basketball tournament via helicopter.

"In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff's deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches," according to the claim.

"As the department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes."