Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Brother of Pilot in Kobe Bryant Crash Says Passengers to Blame for Fatal Helicopter Accident

Kobe crash

*The brother of the pilot that was flying the helicopter that crashed and killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old- daughter Gianna and seven others, has responded to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant. 

Berge Zobayan, the brother of pilot Ara George Zobayan, noted in a 7-page response that passengers on the flight knew the risks involved with flying in weather conditions that were reportedly not ideal on that fateful day, CNN reports.

“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,” the response said, per TMZ.

The outlet also noted:

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Zobayan’s response also requests a jury trial, and argues “any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence, fault or wrongful conduct of third parties, whom this answering defendant neither controlled nor had the right to control, and for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility. Said acts or omissions comparatively reduce the percentage of negligence, fault and/or liability, if any of this answering defendant.”

The helicopter crash occurred on January 26 in Calabasas, California, killing Bryant and his daughter, along with John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and Christina Mauser, 38.

Kobe’s widow filed a 72-page wrongful death lawsuit on February 24 against the pilot and Island Express, the company he was employed with.

The suit argues that Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions” and “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”

According to LA-based trial lawyer Tom Lallas, the response from Zobayan’s legal team is standard, as they are “trying to preserve the right to attribute fault, blame or responsibility to someone else, and that’s just classic insurance defense 101 behavior.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



  1. It’s not up to passengers – the paying public with no professional experience – to decide whether its safe to fly. It’s up to the licensed pilot. That’s why s/he has the license and has been trained to make those decisions. Do passengers pressure you to make decisions against their best interest, because they are selfish and only think of themselves and their plans regardless of how detrimental it could be? OF COURSE! That doesn’t take liability or responsibility from the licensed pilot.


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