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Kobe Bryant's widow Vanessa files wrongful death suit against helicopter operator involved in crash

New details in Kobe Bryant crash investigation

Kobe Bryant's widow on Monday sued the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed the former Los Angeles Lakers star and their 13-year-old daughter last month.  The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant in Los Angeles Superior Court said the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions January 26 and should have aborted the flight.

The lawsuit was announced on the same day as a public memorial honoring Kobe and Gianna Bryant being held at Staples Center.

Pilot Ara Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash.

The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc. and also targets Zobayan's legal representative, listed only as "Doe 1" until a name can be determined.

Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit asserts that Zobayan was negligent in eight different ways, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn't cleared for and failing to control the helicopter.

The complaint filed in LA County Superior Court claims that Zobayan failed "to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft." It also asserts that Island Express Helicopters Inc. "knew or should have known" that Zobayan "had previously been cited by the Federal Aviation Administration" for violating visual flight rules in a 2015 incident.

The lawsuit was filed as a public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all the victims, including Zobayan, was being held at the arena where Bryant played most of his career.

Calls to Island Express seeking comment were not answered and its voicemail was full.

The company issued a statement January 30 on its website saying the shock of the crash had prompted it to suspend service until it was appropriate for staff and customers.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash into a hillside in Calabasas on the outskirts of Los Angeles County.

The NTSB said the pilot told air traffic controllers he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above the clouds. He made it about 2,300 feet and began to turn. Eight seconds later, the helicopter began to descend, then plummet.

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