Kobe Bryant helicopter crash post-mortem revealed

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died from blunt trauma in the helicopter crash that killed him and his teenage daughter, a post-mortem has ruled.

The 41-year-old basketball star and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people who died when an aircraft they were travelling in crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, in January.

The office of the Los Angeles county coroner has released the results of the post-mortem examinations, which ruled passengers died from blunt trauma and certified the deaths as an accident.

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant married in 2001
Image:Vanessa and Kobe Bryant married in 2001

Everyone onboard the helicopter was killed in the crash, including pilot Ara George Zobayan, who according to the coroner’s report tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

Bryant’s widow Vanessa has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters Inc, which operated the aircraft, and its owner Island Express Holding Corp.

She is also suing the estate of Mr Zobayan after accusing him of failing to use “ordinary care in piloting” and negligence, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In response to the lawsuit, documents filed at Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the pilot’s brother Berge Zobayan claim that Bryant knew of the risks of flying in the helicopter but chose to anyway, NBC News reported.

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“This negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the documents are reported to have said.

Ara Zobayan has been named on social media as the pilot
Image:Pilot Ara George Zobayan died in the crash

The cause of the crash is still being investigated, with officials having previously indicated that there was no evidence that the helicopter’s engines had failed.

Among the other passengers – who were on their way to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks – were two of Gianna’s basketball teammates, their relatives and a coach.

Family members of some of the passengers have also sued the owners of the helicopter, although they have not named Mr Zobyan and his representative as defendants in their lawsuits.

One of them was submitted by two children of John Altobelli, an Orange Coast College baseball coach who died alongside his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, who played basketball with Gianna.

Kobe Bryant's life in pictures: From high school to the NBA to the Oscars

Kobe Bryant’s life in pictures: From high school to the NBA to the Oscars

The other has been filed by the husband and three children of Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls’ basketball team and died in the crash.

All the cases allege that the two companies were careless and negligent.

Mr Zobayan, 50, had more than 8,200 hours of flight time and had nearly navigated the aircraft out of clouds when it suddenly turned and went down.

Audio from air traffic control and 911 calls revealed that heavy fog and limited visibility were a problem.

Also killed in the crash were Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, who was another of Gianna’s teammates.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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