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Kobe Bryant and passengers to blame for helicopter crash, pilot’s rep claims

The Bryants (L-R): Natalia, Gianna, Kobe, Vanessa and toddler Bianka. Capri was not yet born at the time of this photo. (Image source: Instagram – @vanessabryant)

A representative of the pilot who flew the doomed helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna now blames the crash on the passengers who died in the fiery flames on Jan. 26, 2020.

According to published reports, the representative of the deceased pilot puts the onus on the passengers and is responding legally to widow Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against the helicopter company, Island Express, and the pilot, Ara George Zobayan. The rep — whose name was not given but who is said to be Zobayan’s cousin — does not provide any specifics or enumerate the ways in which he believes the deceased passengers were at fault.

In documents, filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court and obtained by TMZ, Zobayan’s cousin said this about the passenger’s alleged culpability:

“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.”

It is hard to fathom how the passengers were at fault when the pilot was in control of the copter, which was flying 184 miles per hour through dense fog when it barreled into the mountains in Calabasas, California. Bryant and his guests were en route to the Mamba Academy in neighboring Thousands Oaks when the copter went down.

The Los Angeles Police Department had grounded Island Express’ fleet because of the dangerous flying conditions. Moreover, according to TMZ, the pilot was forced to hover above Griffith Park for 15 minutes before receiving clearance to progress north from Los Angeles to Bryant’s academy.