Vanessa Bryant Urges Congress to Pass 'Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act'
By Desiree Murphy
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby
Vanessa Bryant is urging Congress to pass a helicopter safety bill named after her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna Bryant, who died following a crash near Calabasas, California, earlier this year.
Democratic lawmakers introduced the "Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act" on Thursday, according to CNN, who also reports that the legislation would "require all helicopters certified to carry six or more people to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder."
"I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country," Bryant said in statement. "I believe there is a chance that Kobe and Gianna would still be alive today if their helicopter had been equipped with the safety equipment required by this pending federal legislation."
"I believe that these safety measures will save many lives," she added. "As passengers traveling on aircrafts we assume that proper safety measures are in order to prevent accidents from happening before we fly. It's unfortunate that this is not the case and aircraft companies must do their part to protect lives."
According to court documents obtained by ET, Bryant is asking for substantial compensation from Island Express Helicopters, and claims the family lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" in lost earnings from her husband's death. The documents state that "although the total specific amount of personal injury damages the plaintiff seeks is TBD, Kobe Bryant's future lost earnings equal hundreds of millions of dollars."
Bryant first filed the wrongful death lawsuit back in March. In the original 72-page lawsuit, obtained by ET, Bryant claimed that Ara Zobayan -- the pilot who was flying the helicopter, and also died in the crash -- "had a duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances."
The lawsuit also cites several areas where Zobayan may have been negligent, and alleges that Island Express Helicopters had "advance knowledge of the unfitness" of Zobayan due to a previous violation in 2015.
Attorneys for Zobayan's estate have requested a "motion to transfer venue to a county outside Los Angeles County on the grounds that an impartial jury cannot be empaneled in Los Angeles Superior Court in this matter." A company spokesperson for Island Express Helicopters previously told ET in March, "This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation."