Kobe Bryant may have survived helicopter crash impact, lawsuit claims
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna may have survived the initial impact during their January helicopter crash according to the wrongful death suit filed by Vanessa Bryant.
Vanessa and her three surviving daughters, who are also plaintiffs in the case, are now seeking damages for the “pain and anguish” Kobe and Gianna may have suffered in that time.
Vanessa filed the family’s complaint on the same day that she delivered a heartbreaking eulogy for both her husband and daughter at a memorial for the two in Los Angeles.
The complaint states 19 times that Vanessa and her daughters should be compensated for “damages (Kobe or Gianna) may have suffered between the time of injury and the time of death and for the recovery of which the deceased might have maintained an action had death not ensued including, but not limited to, mental anguish, physical disability, conscious pain and suffering, pre-impact terror, disfigurement, and further considering the aggravating circumstances attendant upon the fatal injury.”
Those “aggravating circumstances” include “wanton, wilful callous, reckless and depraved conduct” by the defendants.
Vanessa is seeking these punitive damages “to deter future wrongdoing in that the acts and omissions of defendant has manifested such reckless and complete indifference to and a conscious disregard for the safety of others”.
There will be more details about Kobe and Gianna’s deaths in a few weeks when the final autopsy report is released by the LA County Coroner, but even then it will be hard to determine if any of the passengers had survived the initial impact.
A spokesperson for the Medical Examiner told The Sun that they “highly doubt the report would mention anything like (whether any victims survived the crash).’
They also noted the report was still not complete, so nothing could be confirmed or denied with complete certainty at this time.
One eyewitness reported at the time that the helicopter hit the mountain and then fell backwards approximately 300m before exploding into a fireball, The NTSB later described it as a “high-energy impact crash,” with the cause of death for all nine passengers determined to be blunt force trauma.
Vanessa, who has long shunned the spotlight, spoke about her love for Kobe and Gianna at Monday’s memorial.
She fought back tears at first as she called Gianna her “best friend” and described Kobe’s “magic arms.”
She praised him as a father, noting how close he was with their four daughters.
“He loved taking the girls to the coy fish pond, the last time they went was the night before he and Gigi passed,” said Vanessa, who was in tears by that point.
She acknowledged that Kobe won’t be there to bring their youngest daughter Capri to her kindergarten class, or to tell Vanessa to “get a grip, V!” when they had to drop off their little girl.
“He won’t be there to spin me around on the dance floor while singing P.Y.T to me,” she said.
“But I want me daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband and father he was.”
She continued: “He is (not) going to be able to walk our daughter’s down the aisle.”
Vanessa also spoke at length about the bond between father and daughter.
“They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life – they were so full of joy and adventure,” said Vanessa.
“God knew that they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to be together. Babe, you take care of Gigi.”
Vanessa and her daughters are suing both the helicopter company and the estate of pilot Ara Zobayan.
The 28-count complaint names the charter company, Island Express Helicopters, and the estate of deceased pilot Ara Zobayan as defendants.
The National Transportation Safety Board released their initial findings as part of an investigative update on the crash earlier this month.
In that update, the NTSB states that mechanical failure did not play a role in causing the crash.
“Our investigators have already developed a substantial amount of evidence about the circumstances of this tragic crash,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt.
“And we are confident that we will be able to determine its cause as well as any factors that contributed to it so we can make safety recommendations to prevent accidents like this from occurring again.”
The debris field from the crash stretched close to 200m the NTSB confirmed, and “all significant components of the helicopter were located within the wreckage area.”
It did not determine what caused the crash.
The memorial on Monday was a tribute to all nine who lost their lives.
Guests entering the Staples Center could see the names of the victims listed in alphabetical order: John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser; Sarah Payton Chester; and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Vanessa has said that she will be donating money to those families.
This article was originally published by The Sun and reproduced with permission
Originally published as Kobe may have survived crash impact