A helicopter tour in the Grand Canyon this weekend ended in a fiery crash, killing three of the seven people onboard and injuring four others, the police said.
The chopper from Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopters was carrying six passengers and a pilot when it went down around 5:20 p.m. on Saturday on the Hualapai Nation near Quartermaster Canyon, the Hualapai Nation police chief, Francis Bradley, said, according to The Associated Press.
The names of the dead and injured were not immediately released. Four of the people injured sustained Level 1 injuries and were treated at the scene officials said.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Allen Kenitzer, told The A.P. that the Eurocopter EC130 crashed in unknown circumstances and sustained heavy damage. Mr. Kenitzer told ABC News that the helicopter crashed three miles east of the Grand Canyon West Airport, which is in Peach Springs, Ariz.,
Images of the crash site online showed flames and black smoke shooting from a ravine.
The company’s website says it flies about 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours. It also noted that it “abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration.”
Gary C. Robb, a lawyer who represented a woman badly burned in a deadly Papillion crash at the Grand Canyon in 2001, told The A.P. that the company had made big improvements since that crash.
“They’ve improved their piloting qualifications as well as their maintenance over the last 10 years and as far as I know they’ve not had a crash since 2001,” he said. He added that flying in the Grand Canyon can be treacherous simply because of the number of helicopters there.
Mr. Robb said his heart went out to the victims. “This is not just the fact that a helicopter crashed; this is a human tragedy. People died and were horribly injured,” he said.
The A.P. said a phone call and an email to Papillion were not immediately returned Saturday.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/11/us/grand-canyon-helicopter-crash.html443