Those in Alabama following the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant might be interested to learn that the basketball star’s widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit was filed against Island Express Helicopters, which operated the helicopter that caused the deaths of nine individuals in January 2020. Vanessa Bryant lost her husband and her 13-year-old daughter in the crash.
The suit alleges that the pilot of the helicopter failed to assess and monitor the weather before takeoff, that he failed to abort the flight when he learned of the adverse weather conditions and that he failed to safely operate the helicopter, which resulted in its crashing. The wrongful death suit didn’t list a financial figure but asked for economic, punitive and general damages.
The helicopter was licensed and certified only for visual flight rules that require pilots to fly in clear conditions with good visibility away from clouds. Other aircraft can fly in the clouds using specialized navigational instruments. On the day of the crash, weather conditions were cloudy. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is still pending. Early reports indicate that the clouds might have reduced the pilot’s visibility and lead to him losing control of the helicopter.
It is a pilot’s responsibility to ensure the safe travel of those why fly in their helicopter. Those who operate helicopters must make sure the helicopters are in good working order and that the pilot has the proper experience and certifications to fly the aircraft. If they don’t, the pilot or company who operated the aircraft might have behaved negligently. In this case, the pilot reportedly failed to avoid cloudy conditions, which was contrary to the license and certification of the helicopter. Because he chose to continue to fly, he may have behaved negligently, and the plaintiff might be awarded monetary damages in the suit.