Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, is championing the “Kobe and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act” — a bill that outlines safety measures she claimed will “save many lives.”
The Lakers legend died in a helicopter accident next to his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven other passengers on Jan. 26, a memory that has been seared in the mind of Vanessa and her kids.
The bill, which was formally introduced by lawmakers on Thursday, would require aircraft carrying six or more people to hold important safety equipment, including 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,” said Vanessa Bryant, according to TMZ Sports.
“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.”
Ara Zobayan, the pilot of a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter that carried Bryant to his Thousand Oaks “Mamba Sports Academy,” was reportedly disoriented when communicating with air traffic control.
The pilot told controllers that he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds when, in fact, the aircraft was nosediving toward a hillside in Calabasas, crashing northwest of Los Angeles and killing all nine people aboard, according to ESPN.
“As passengers traveling on aircrafts we assume that proper safety measures are in order to prevent accidents from happening before we fly,” Bryant added. “It’s unfortunate that this is not the case and aircraft companies must do their part to protect lives.”
Bryant’s widow is also hoping the helicopter industry will “consider renaming the black box to Mamba 8 Box in honor of the 3 young Mamba team players, the 2 Mamba coaches and the 3 Mamba parents onboard, equaling 8.”
While this latest push for consideration notably fits the jersey Bryant wore through the first half of his career, it also notably excludes Zobayan, whom she’s sued posthumously for negligence in months past.