Charter company sues air traffic controllers, blaming them for Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Local news

The embattled charter company that operated a helicopter that crashed in January, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others, has blamed two air traffic controllers for the accident.

In a cross-complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week, Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that “a series of erroneous acts and/or omissions” by Matthew Conley and Kyle Larsen resulted in the crash.

Conley and Larsen are air traffic controllers for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern California TRACON, which handles flights in the region.

“Had Larsen and Conley not engaged in the numerous negligent acts and/or omissions stated herein, then the Pilot [Ara Zobayan] would not have been forced to respond to multiple [air traffic control] requests and commands during the most critical phase of the flight,” the cross-complaint said.

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