Kobe Bryant’s wife, other families settle suit over helicopter crash

LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and other plaintiffs reached a confidential settlement agreement with the company that operated the helicopter that crashed last year, killing her husband, daughter and seven other people, according to court documents.

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Both parties filed “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines” documents with the court, KABC reported.

“Plaintiffs and defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” the documents state.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed and the agreement still needs to be approved by the court, according to KABC.

Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters after the helicopter crash that occurred in California on Jan. 26, 2020. The crash killed Kobe Bryant and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant; Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli and Keri Altobelli; Payton Chester and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser; and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report in February 2020 that blamed pilot error for the crash, KTLA reported.

Vanessa Bryant brought the case on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of herself and her surviving three daughters, KNBC reported.

>> Oldest daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant graduates high school

The pilot’s estate was also named as a defendant in the wrongful-death suit, according to KABC.

The Altobelli, Chester and Mauser families were also involved in legal actions against the company, the television station reported. Documents filed by Vanessa Bryant’s legal team indicated that the other families were also part of the settlement.

The lawsuit blamed Island Express for allowing the helicopter to be flown in “heavy fog and low clouds,’' KNBC reported. That prompted law enforcement agencies and tour companies to ground their helicopters, the television station reported.

Island Express Helicopters has denied responsibility, claiming the crash was “an act of God” it couldn’t control, KTLA reported.

Earlier this month, Natalia Bryant, the oldest child of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, graduated from high school. Natalia Bryant and her mother honored Kobe Bryant when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in May.