Vanessa Bryant is asking Congress to pass a bill named after her late husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant that would strengthen helicopter safety.
“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. “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.”
According to CNN, Bryant’s statement follows democratic lawmakers’ introduction of the “Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act” on Thursday. The bill would enforce all helicopters qualified to carry more than six or more passengers to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a flight data and cockpit voice recorder.
Bryant believes the new legislation and “safety measures will save many lives.”
“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.”
Republican Brad Sherman brought forth a similar legislation in January after Kobe, GiGi, and seven other passengers were killed in a helicopter crash. Thursday’s bill is an updated version of his bill, which adds in the Bryant family support and additional proposals.
Bryant was “deeply moved” when she learned the bill will be a namesake of her late husband and 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. She also proposed that “black boxes” be renamed to “Mamba 8 Box” in honor of the five Mamba team members on board that day.
On January 26, Kobe, Gigi, 3 Mamba players, 2 Mamba coaches, and two other passengers were killed in a helicopter crash while on the way to Mamba Sports Academy for a youth basketball game.
The same day as the Staples Center Memorial, Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the company Island Express Helicopters claiming the pilot failed to “safely operate” the aircraft.
CNN uncovered the helicopter company was only certified to use visual flight rules (VFR), but the weather conditions the day of the crash required an instrument flight rules (IFR), but the company was not licensed nor certified in that area, the suit claims.
Bryant has been very open about missing Kobe and Gigi on her social media accounts; hopefully, the bill will help in her time of grief.
“I couldn’t see him as a celebrity nor just an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of my children. He was mine. He was my everything.” Bryant said at the memorial.