Relatives of four passengers who died in the helicopter crash where Kobe Bryant and his daughter lost their lives have teamed up with the widow of the NBA star to file wrongful death lawsuits against companies that owned and operated the aircraft.
Lawsuits on behalf of three family members and a woman who helped train Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter in basketball were filed electronically on Sunday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The pair of lawsuits comes two months after Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant also sued Island Express Helicopters Inc. (which operated the Sikorsky helicopter) and its owner, Island Express Holding Corp.
A person who answered the phone at Island Express Helicopters declined to comment, and an email from The Associated Press requesting comment was not immediately answered.
Unlike Vanessa Bryant’s long lawsuit, the identical new seven-page cases do not name the dead pilot, Ara Zobayan, or his representative, as defendants. All of the lawsuits allege that the two companies were careless and negligent.
Two surviving children of Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli and his wife Keri filed a lawsuit. Her daughter Alyssa played basketball with Gianna. Christina Mauser’s husband and three children filed another lawsuit, which helped Bryant coach the girls’ basketball team.
The group was heading to a basketball tournament on January 26 when the helicopter crashed in thick fog northwest of Los Angeles.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late American basketball player Kobe Bryant, published the first photo of her family on Monday after the helicopter accident that claimed the life of her husband and second daughter Gianna.
An initial report by the National Transportation Safety Board said there were no signs of engine failure from the recovered wreckage. The pilot had almost sailed the helicopter out of the blinding clouds when the plane suddenly spun and sank on the side of the mountain.
Vanessa Bryant, who filed the suit on the same day as her husband’s grand public funeral in February, alleged that Zobayan was careless and negligent about flying in the fog and should have aborted the flight.
Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was another of Gianna’s teammates, also died in the accident.