Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash: Worthing Man, His Brother And Girlfriend Killed

Stuart’s girlfriend, Becky Dobson, 27, also died in the blaze, which left three other British tourists – and the pilot –fighting for their lives in hospital.

The six friends were staying in Las Vegas to celebrate Stuart’s 30th birthday after saving up for a year for the trip.

They had booked a helicopter sightseeing tour of the famous beauty spot – but their dream holiday turned into a nightmare when the aircraft crashed to earth in the Nevada desert and exploded at about 5.20pm local time (12.20am GMT).

The reason for the crash remains unclear but local authorities in Arizona said the weather was “not normal” at the time.

“My entire family has basically been wiped out,” the Reverend David Hill, who works as a chaplain at Worthing Hospital, told The Argus at the family home in King Edward Avenue yesterday.

“My two sons and one of their girlfriends are just gone.

“It’s still raw.”

Jason’s girlfriend, Jennifer Barham, 39, was airlifted to hospital along with Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and 42-year-old pilot Scott Booth.

One picture appeared to show Miss Barham stumbling from the burning wreckage and an eyewitness claimed to have heard her shouting Jason’s name.

Mrs Milward and Mr Udall, who were taken to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas in a critical condition, were on their honeymoon.

A series of small blasts followed the initial explosion.

Witness Lionel Douglass, who had been at a ceremony 1,000 yards away at the top of the one-mile deep valley, described the  “biggest explosion you ever heard and then flames like you never seen before”.

High winds of up to 50mph, coupled with rugged terrain, prevented rescue crews from reaching the scene for eight hours.

Hualapai Police chief Francis Bradley said weather conditions had been “severe” but no flight restrictions had been put in place.

The crash was the second fatal accident to occur on a flight operated by sightseeing company Papillon – five people died in 2001.

Chief executive Brenda Halvorson said: “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.”

But Reverend Hill told a national newspaper the only comfort was that the “incredibly close” brothers had been together when they died.

He added: “A light has truly gone out.”

Older brother Jason was poised to become a partner at law firm Shoosmiths, where he had been working as a corporate senior associate in the Milton Keynes offices.  Stuart was a car salesman at the Portslade branch of car dealership Lookers.

Becky’s father told a press agency his daughter, a receptionist at Vets4Pets in the Red Square Retail Park, Worthing, had been “really happy” with Stuart.

“They were always going out and doing things. They just enjoyed being with each other.  “The whole thing is just terrible.”

Becky, who went to Worthing High School, had spoken of her love of travel in a blog published on the Vets4Pets website.

She wrote: “My favourite things to do are spending time up the yard with my four-legged, beautiful boy, Buddy the Irish sports horse.

“I also love to travel the world and explore what is out there beyond good old Worthing  “I love my job and I am hoping to one day fulfil my dream of becoming a veterinary nurse.”

She spent a year in Australia working as an au-pair before returning home to Worthing.

Her father said she had been looking forward to the long weekend in Vegas for a long time.

Sara-Jane Stevens, 45, a curate at St Matthew’s Church Hall, in Tarring Road, Worthing, where Reverend Hill works, said the community was pulling together to help him and his wife Sandra.

“They are a very close family and always have been,” she  said.

“They’re very warm and loving people who would always embrace new arrivals, and now it’s our turn to give some of  that warmth back in any way we can.”

A candle-lit vigil will be held at the church at 6pm on Friday evening.  All members of the congregation are invited to attend and pay their respects.

'You were truly beautiful in every way'

THE loss of three young lives has ripped a hole in the Worthing community and their workplaces.

And the lives of those who knew Jason and Stuart Hill and Becky Dobson will never be the same again.

The three were deeply loved by friends, families and work colleagues.

Three individuals with good careers – Jason, 32, worked as a corporate lawyer for Shoosmiths Solicitors, 30-year-old Stuart was a Mercedes-Benz salesman in Brighton, while girlfriend Becky was a receptionist at Vets4Pets with the aim of becoming a veterinary nurse.

Jason’s employers described him as a hardworking man who was enjoyable to be with.

He joined the firm as a trainee before climbing the ladder to qualify into the corporate department seven years ago.

Claire Rowe, chief executive at Shoosmiths LLP, told The Argus: “Jason Hill was a corporate lawyer within our Milton Keynes office who was well respected and loved by all those who worked with him at the firm.

“Jason joined Shoosmiths as a trainee, before qualifying into our corporate department in 2011.

“He was hardworking, full of energy and enjoyable to work with, and we are greatly saddened by the news of his death and that of his brother Stuart.

“Our immediate thoughts are with their family at this very difficult and tragic time.”

Source :

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