At least three people were killed in a helicopter crash near the Grand Canyon with a sightseeing company behind the death of five New Yorkers in 2001.
The chopper, operated by the Las Vegas-based business Papillon, had at least seven people on board, including the pilot, when it crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation just before 5:30 p.m., Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley said.
Four other passengers, despite being critically injured in the fiery wreckage, could not be airlifted to safety due to swift winds, according to KSNV-TV.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer identified the downed aircraft as a Eurocopter EC130. He was unable to elaborate where the helicopter went down or what caused the crash.
The aircraft, which took off from Las Vegas, sustained “substantial damage,” Kenitzer said in an email.
An employee who answered Papillon’s aerial tour reservations phone line late Saturday declined to comment on the crash. Spokeswomen for the company did not immediately respond to repeated requests for comment.
The victims in the crash Saturday were not identified.
The company has undergone about a dozen aviation probes by the National Transportation Safety Board since 2001, when five people from Brooklyn were killed during the canyon tour.
The pilot lost control of the American Eurocopter AS350 aircraft and crashed into the Grand Wash Cliffs near Grand Canyon National Park, killing six people on board, including himself. Chana Daskal was the sole survivor of the wreckage that claimed the life of her husband and four friends.
With News Wire Services