Tourists killed in Grand Canyon helicopter crash

15 February, 2018, 05:46 | Author: Regina Lloyd
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Three British tourists are dead and three severely injured after a tour helicopter crashed into the Grand Canyon on Saturday.

Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley told reporters they are now in recovery and investigation mode.

Authorities have released the names of the victims of a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon in Arizona Saturday.

"High winds, the darkness and the extreme rugged terrain where the crash site is located" hampered rescue efforts, Bradley said.

The four surviving victims, including the pilot, of the Grand Canyon helicopter crash were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital.

He said National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected at the crash scene to begin investigating the cause. The Nevada-based company says it cooperating fully with investigators.

Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said in a statement Sunday that the company is extending its heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in the accident. "And we have three confirmed fatalities", Bradley said.

The circumstances surrounding the crash - on the West Rim of the Canyon - are now unknown.

A local photographer, Teddy Fujimoto, was filming a nearby wedding, and told reporters he heard the explosion and witnessed the "horrible" aftermath of survivors screaming for help.

Unlike the national park, air tours on the Hualapai reservation are not subject to federal regulations that restrict routes, impose curfews and cap the amount of flights over the Grand Canyon each year.

The helicopter - owned by Papillon Airways, a sightseeing company that specializes in helicopter tours of the canyon - suffered "sustained substantial damage" in the accident. The Federal Aviation Administration will also be investigating the crash, spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

He said it took around 10 minutes for emergency services to arrive and by the time they got there most of the flames were out. The pilot and five passengers - who were all from NY - died.



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