From the moment a tragic helicopter crash claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in January, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, Vanessa, has not stopped fighting.
She rebuked media who used anonymous sources to report on her mental state in the aftermath of the deaths. She called out the Los Angeles Police Department over allegations that officers inappropriately shared photos of the crash site. Additionally, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company Kobe and Gianna were using on the day they died.
On Thursday, she took her latest action, lending her name to the “Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act,” which was introduced by Democratic lawmakers in Congress on Thursday. The act, if passed, “would require all helicopters certified to carry six or more people to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System, a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder,” according to CNN, who also obtained a statement from Vanessa:
“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 statement. “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.”
CNN reports that Vanessa let lawmakers know that she supported their efforts when she heard about them, and she told the news outlet that she was “deeply moved” by the having Kobe and Gianna’s name on the legislation, calling it “a fitting tribute to their memory” in her statement.
She also just wants to help, because she thinks the bill can save others from having to go through the same thing she is:
“I believe that these safety measures will save many lives,” Bryant said of the bill.
“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.”
I regrettably was unable to find more current statistics than this, but according to a 2016 breakdown from the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 511 helicopter accidents in the United States from 2013-2016, 85 of which were fatal.
But regardless of how much those numbers have fluctuated in one direction or another since then, I think we can all probably agree that if Vanessa lending her support to this bill can save even one life, that effort would be worthwhile. Kudos to her for using her voice and platform to make a difference, and for continuing to fight for Kobe and Gianna. Here is her Instagram post about it, if you want to send her some support.