Grand Canyon helicopter crash kills three

Grand Canyon helicopter crash kills three

THE three tourists killed in a Grand Canyon helicopter crash were British.

Windy conditions, darkness and the hard terrain meant rescue crews had to be flown in to reach the helicopter's wreckage.

On August 10, 2001, a helicopter flown by Papillon Airways, carrying passengers from NY, took off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas about 12:45 tour the west Grand Canyon area.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB will be investigating Saturday's crash.

According to its website, the Las Vegas-based company flies an estimated 600,000 passengers each year.

Winds in the area picked up in the Saturday afternoon with gusts up to 45 miles per hour, but the cause of the crash is not immediately known.

"We are in the recovery and investigation mode now", Bradley said.

'Quartermaster Canyon is an extremely remote area. The tribe also operates the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, a horseshoe-shaped glass-bottomed projection with stunning, if vertigo-inducing, views of the canyon floor.

Witness Teddy Fujimoto, a Las Vegas photographer who was doing a wedding shoot at the time of the crash, said he saw people running toward the edge of a gulch.

"It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident".

"Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff".

The helicopter was owned by Papillon Airways, a sightseeing company that specializes in helicopter tours of the canyon.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Authority said the aircraft, described as a Eurocopter EC130 by local media suffered 'substantial damage'. National Weather Service meteorologists in Flagstaff and Phoenix said wind conditions were an estimated 16 kilometres per hour with gusts of 32 kilometres per hour around the time of the crash. He said the company has made big improvements since that crash.

The pilot and five tourists from NY were killed, while one woman survived.



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