Hualapai Police chief Francis Bradley said: “It’s a very tragic incident.
“Yesterday, we were hampered by severe weather conditions, we had gusts up to 50mph. The terrain where the crash occurred… is extremely rugged.”
He told ABC News the tour originated in Boulder City, Nevada, and that a storm was rolling into the area at the time of the crash.
MOST POPULAR TODAY ON YAHOO UK
>London City Airport closed after unexploded Second World War bomb found in Thames
>Danny Dyer’s daughter Dani Mas Dyer is out of ITV2’s new answer to Love Island
>This year’s flu is exceptionally bad – here’s what to watch out for
>Hundreds of fire deaths may be linked to skin creams, senior firefighter warns
Mr Bradley described the weather conditions as “not normal”, but said no flight restrictions were in place.
He told News3LV that darkness and an initial lack of air support hampered the rescue effort.
Eyewitness Lionel Douglass had been attending a wedding on a bluff about 1,000 yards away from where the helicopter burst into flames.
He told ABC News: “I had taken my phone and I was zooming in to see if I could see anybody and a lady walked out of the flames and I just lost it.”
He said he saw the helicopter fall between and hit the bottom with the “biggest explosion you ever heard and then flames like you never seen before”.
A series of smaller blasts followed, according to reports.
The helicopter tour was run by Papillon, who say on their website that they are “the largest and most experienced helicopter tour operator in the world”.
Papillon chief executive Brenda Halvorson said in a statement: “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.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the Eurocopter EC130 crashed in unknown circumstances and sustained heavy damage.
An investigation into the accident will now take place.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are providing support to the families of six British visitors involved in a helicopter accident at the Grand Canyon on February 10, and we are in close contact with the US emergency services.”
Source : https://uk.news.yahoo.com/british-tourists-killed-grand-canyon-crash-named-rescue-efforts-hampered-poor-conditions-094716530.html