Four months after the tragic helicopter crash, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna's cause of death has finally been revealed. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the basketball star and his 13-year-old daughter died from blunt trauma in the helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California.
Cause of death
The news site, TMZ, reported that the pilot Ara Zobayan was tested for alcohol and drugs at the time, but the results revealed that toxicological testing did not detect the presence of alcohol or drugs in his system. The results added that substances tested for include cocaine, benzodiazepines, heroin, fentanyl, opioids, marijuana, amphetamines, and phencyclidine.
The test results came after Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit following the passing of her husband and daughter, both of whom were among the people who died when the private helicopter crashed. According to the documents, Vanessa claims that the helicopter should never have been placed in the situation that it was in before the incident because Island Express broke several flight rules.
The lawsuit states that the company was only allowed to fly under visual flight rules and that the conditions on the day of the helicopter crash were not conducive for flying because there was a low fog that day. The documents also claim the pilot was traveling at 180 miles per hour in the fog in a steep decline and he also made numerous errors in judgment on the day of the incident.
Vanessa states that the pilot, who also lost his life in the crash, failed to monitor and assess the weather properly before takeoff and that he failed to get proper weather data before the flight. She also stated that the pilot failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy condition, failed to maintain control of the helicopter, and that he failed to avoid natural obstacles in the flight path.
Did Kobe knew of the risk?
NBC News reported that in response to the lawsuit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court by Vanessa, the pilot's brother Berge Zobayan claim that Kobe Bryant knew of the risks of flying that day but he chose to anyway. The documents are reported to have said that the negligence was a substantial factor in causing the purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility.
Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were on their way to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, and among the passengers were two of Gianna's basketball teammates, their parents, and a coach. The family members of some of the passengers have also sued the owners of the helicopter, although they have not named Zobayan and his representative as defendants in their lawsuits.
One of the lawsuits was submitted by two children on John Altobelli, a coach from Orange Coast College who died alongside his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, who played basketball with Gianna.
The other lawsuit was filed by the husband and three children of Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls' basketball team and also died in the crash. They all filed lawsuits for the company's alleged negligence and carelessness. Also killed in the crash were Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was another of Gianna's teammates.
The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was 50-years-old and had more than 8,200 hours of flight time and he had nearly navigated the aircraft out of clouds when it suddenly turned and went down. The 911 calls and the audio from air traffic control revealed that limited visibility and heavy fog were a problem.