Three Killed in Grand Canyon Tourist Helicopter Crash

Three people were killed and four were injured when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in the Grand Canyon, officials said.

The group of friends was in Las Vegas to celebrate a birthday and took a helicopter sightseeing tour of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai reservation, family and friends said.

Three people were killed in the crash of a tour helicopter in the Grand Canyon.

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.

Three other passengers and the pilot were injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

The circumstances surrounding the crash - on the West Rim of the Canyon - are now unknown.

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Photographer Teddy Fujimoto was at the popular U.S. tourist spot to take wedding pictures when he noticed a commotion and saw people running. He says he followed and saw the black smoke from the helicopter wreckage.

The company says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours.

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

Winds in the area picked up in the Saturday afternoon with gusts up to 45 miles per hour, but the cause of the crash is not immediately known.

Papillon Grand Cayon Helicopters has held the title of the world's oldest and largest sightseeing company since 1965, according to its website.

Papillon said it is cooperating with the investigation and abides by flight safety rules that exceed those required by the FAA.

The helicopter, an Eurocopter EC130 from Airbus, "crashed under unknown circumstances in the Grand Canyon" and suffered substantial damage, Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email, according to Reuters. He said one of them "was pretty much burned all over". The pilot and five passengers - who were all from NY - died.

  • Ronnie Bowen