Vanessa Bryant asks Congress to pass helicopter safety bill

Vanessa Bryant called on Congress to pass the “Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act” on Thursday, something that she believes will help make helicopter travel significantly safer in the country.

The bill — named after her late husband and 13-year-old daughter, who were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles in January — was officially introduced in Congress on Thursday, following similar legislation that was introduced in January.

“I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” Vanessa said in a statement on Thursday, via CNN. “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.”

The legislation would require all helicopters made for six or more passengers to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. 

“I believe that these safety measures will save many lives,” Vanessa said in a statement, via CNN. “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.”

The National Transportation Safety Board released details of the moments just before the crash this week, saying that pilot Ara Zobayan may have been disoriented at the time of the crash. The NTSB said that he communicated with air traffic controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet when he was actually descending toward the crash site. It also revealed that he expressed concern about the weather the night before.

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing. 

Vanessa filed a lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter in February, and was joined by families of the other victims in the lawsuit in April. 

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced similar legislation in January. That was updated, he told CNN, after the Bryant family reached out to say they supported their efforts.

“Having Kobe’s and Gianna’s names associated with this federal law that has the potential to save countless lives would be a fitting tribute to their memory,” Vanessa said in a statement, via CNN.

Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, arrives to speak during the “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” service at Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)


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