Still fighting. Vanessa Bryant called on Congress to support a new helicopter safety law in honor of her late husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna Bryant, who died in a helicopter accident alongside seven other passengers in January.
CNN reported that lawmakers introduced the Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act on Thursday, June 18. The new legislation would require all helicopters that can fit six or more people to include a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a tool to record flight data and a cockpit voice recorder. Vanessa, 38, was quick to speak out about the new bill in light of its incredibly personal meaning to her and her family.
“I strongly urge that the United States Congress pass a federal law that would improve the safety of helicopters operating in this country,” she said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”
The former model admitted that she was “deeply moved” after hearing that the new legislation was named after the late athlete and their 14-year-old daughter. “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,” she said, adding that it’s “unfortunate” that so many of these guidelines are not already put in place to protect helicopter passengers.
News of the safety bill comes one day after federal investigators released a report alleging that the pilot flying at the time of Kobe’s crash, Ara Zobayan, may have been disoriented by foggy weather. According to ABC News, Zobayan told air traffic controllers that he was soaring to 4,000 feet when the aircraft was, in reality, plummeting to the ground. An aviation safety consultant told the network that this misperception is a common and “significant cause of accidents.”
As she continues to grieve, Vanessa is finding strength in support from her loved ones, including daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 11 months. Though it’s been months since the crash, the mother of three is still struggling to cope with the major losses.
“It’s still unfathomable,” an insider told Us Weekly in April. “It’s the heaviest loss a mother and wife could possibly experience. She’s grieving — and will be for a very long time.”
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