Helicopter Crash in Grand Canyon Kills 3, Injures 4: 'It Was Horrible'

Three people died and four were rushed to a Nevada hospital with life-threatening injuries after a tour helicopter crashed into a section of the Grand Canyon on Saturday evening.

Rescue crews were flown in and then used night vision goggles to find their way around, police chief Francis Bradley said.

Three other Britons Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39 along with the pilot Scott Booth, 42, were injured when the Papillon tour helicopter came down at about 17:20 local time (00:20 GMT) in Arizona.

The agency reported that four survivors were being treated at a Nevada hospital as crews tackled hard terrain to recover the bodies of the dead.

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

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said: 'It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident.

Chief Bradley said one of the survivors suffered severe burns and the pilot had severe injury to one of his limbs. 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. "In the gulch, there was a helicopter, flames, smoke", he said.

Las Vegas photographer Teddy Fujimoto was shooting wedding photos at the time of Saturday's crash when he saw people running to the edge of a gulch.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the Eurocopter EC130 crashed in unknown circumstances and sustained heavy damage.

The agency won't say with any certainty what caused the crash until its investigative report is released in a year and a half to two years.

In a statement, Bradley expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the crash victims.

Papillon Airways says on its website that it is "the world's largest aerial sightseeing company" and that it provides "the only way to tour the Grand Canyon".

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

  • David Armstrong