GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (KSNV) – A tour helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon left three people dead and four people in critical condition.
Hualapai Police Chief Francis Bradley said high winds, darkness and initial lack of air support hampered the rescue efforts after the 5:20 p.m. Saturday crash.
A pilot and six sightseers were on a Eurocopter EC130 when it crashed near Quartermaster Canyon on the Hualapai Nation, about 60 miles west of Peach Springs, Arizona, under unknown circumstances.
The helicopter was operated by Boulder City-based Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. It is unknown if the flight departed from Boulder City or another location.
“I cannot speculate on what caused the crash, but we had winds of up to 50 miles an hour on the west rim yesterday,” Bradley said.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene Sunday to begin their investigation.
Las Vegas photographer Teddy Fujimoto saw the crash first hand as he photographed a wedding.
“Everybody was in shock. I just felt horrible,” Fujimoto said. “You could hear the screaming loudly, even from all that way away. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
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