Helicopter Company Involved In Kobe Bryant Crash Suspends Operations
Island Express Helicopters, who owned the craft that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and nine others died in, has suspended operations indefinitely.
The company released a statement on Thursday in light of the tragic losses,
“All services (regular and charter) were immediately suspended following the tragic accident on Sunday, January 26. The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers.”
The California company provided private helicopter flights for Bryant and other public figures.
As we reported, Kobe, his daughter, and seven others were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy. Two other kids, Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli, as well as a coach, Christina Mauser, were on the flight. Chester’s mother, Sarah, and Altobelli’s mother and father, Keri and John, were also aboard.
Pilot Ara Zobayan, had worked for the helicopter company for more than 10 years. He sadly passed too.
Following the crash, Island Express released a statement identifying the craft as theirs,
One of our helicopters, N72EX, Sikorsky S76, was involved in an accident on Sunday, January 26th in the Calabasas area of LA County. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our top priority is providing assistance to the families of the passengers and the pilot. We hope that you will respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time.”
According to ABC News, new reports reveal that the company that owned the aircraft was not licensed to fly choppers by cockpit instruments when visibility was bad or if the weather was bad in general.