She described being at home with her two youngest daughters, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1, at the time, when the family assistant knocked on her door at around 11:30 a.m. The assistant initially shared that a helicopter accident had occurred, but that five survivors were believed to have been found.
Bryant attempted to call her husband, with no answer. She then detailed calling her mother to help watch the children:
“As soon as I was on the phone with my mom, I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back,” Vanessa said. “And all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe.'”
Afterwards, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka accompanied her to the Malibu sheriff’s station, where officials refused to answer her questions. Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva later came in to confirm that Kobe and Gianna were among those killed. He also assured Bryant that the crash site was secure.
Despite his promise, there have been allegations of first responders taking photos of the bodies at the crash site and sharing them with other individuals. This led to Bryant’s lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department earlier in 2020, with Bryant claiming emotional distress surrounding the event.
“The impact of the helicopter crash was so damaging, I just don’t understand how someone can have no regard for life and compassion and, instead, choose to take that opportunity to photograph lifeless and helpless individuals for their own sick amusement,” she told The Times.
When she was asked if she was seeking monetary damages in her lawsuit, she replied, “That’s up to the jury.” She also stated that she was only looking for “accountability” from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, saying, “No one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay.”
Art Daniella Sison