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Vanessa Bryant settles suit in fatal helicopter crash


Vanessa Bryant has reached a settlement in her lawsuit against the company that owned and operated the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas last year, killing her husband—Laker legend Kobe Bryant—and their 13-year-old daughter.

The settlement with Island Express Helicopters, subsidiary OC Helicopters and the estate of the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, also includes surviving relatives of the other passengers who died in the crash.

Terms of the settlement are being kept confidential.

“The material terms of the settlement and releases are known to the settling parties and include that the terms of the settlement are confidential,” according to the papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. “The settling parties are currently finalizing settlement documents, which includes the necessary documentation for approving compromise of the minors’ claims.”

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died when the helicopter slammed into a Calabasas hillside on Jan. 26, 2020. Zobayan was also killed, along with six other passengers.

Vanessa Bryant filed her lawsuit against Island Express one month later, on the day a memorial service was held honoring her late husband at a packed Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The suit—and others that were followed by survivors of other passengers, alleged that the helicopter flight should have been aborted due to poor weather and visibility conditions.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded earlier this year that Zobayan became disoriented in heavy fog that left him unable to discern up from down, causing him to crash the Sikorsky S-76-B helicopter. The NTSB concluded that pilot error was the probable cause of the crash.