MALIBU—On Monday, May 11, Berge Zobayan, a representative of the pilot, Ara George Zobayan who flew NBA basketball player, Kobe Bryant and eight others including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant told TMZ that passengers on the helicopter were responsible for the crash that transpired on January 26 killing all passengers onboard. Bryant and the others were headed to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
TMZ reported that Berge responded to Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa’s wrongful death lawsuit that was filed on February 24, the same day as the memorial service for her husband and daughter held at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. According to reports, the lawsuit filed mentioned Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy weather and that the flight should have been aborted.
Attorneys for the Zobayan family responded to the litigation stating:
“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.” They asked that the case be dismissed.
CNN reported that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicate Zobayan earned his commercial pilot license in 2007. The other riders on the helicopter included head basketball coach of Orange Coast College, John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and their daughter, Alyssa who was Gianna’s teammate. Also on board was, assistant to the girls basketball coach, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton who was also a part of the Mamba Academy.