On January 26, a sudden tragedy shook the nation. Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan died in a horrific helicopter accident in California. More than a year after their tragic deaths, members of the Bryant family, Altobelli family, Chester family and Mauser family have reached a settlement with the pilot's estate and the helicopter company. If approved by the court, the settlement would end an ongoing negligence and wrongful death lawsuit filed against the pilot's estate and helicopter company. However, the terms of the settlement will not be disclosed to the public.
The tragic crash occurred on January 26 as Kobe Bryant and members of the Mamba Sports Academy traveled to a game that was scheduled for that afternoon. According to reports, Pilot Ara Zobayan climbed through the air, but was met with cloudy conditions. As Zobayan steered, the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter turned abruptly and hit the Calabasas hills. All nine passengers were instantly killed and the helicopter broke into flames.
After the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the matter and found the pilot to be at fault. The NTSB also accused Island Express Helicopters Inc.of failing to review and oversee safety measures. In response, Island Express Helicopters denied responsibility and said that the crash was "an act of God" they couldn't control. Taking things a step further, the helicopter company sued the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers and claimed the accident was caused by their "erroneous acts and/or omissions." The newly reached settlement would not end that countersuit.