Three dead after helicopter crashes at Grand Canyon

El Tovar Lodge is at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona

The helicopter was operated by Papillon Airways, an aerial sightseeing company that gives tours of the Grand Canyon and other locations, Bradley said.

At 5:20 p.m. Saturday, a Papillon Airways EC-130 helicopter carrying a pilot and six passengers crashed near Quartermaster Canyon on the Hualapai Nation, Bradley said in a news release.

Allen Kenitzer, of the Federal Aviation Authority's Office of Communications, said the aircraft sustained "substantial damage". KLAS reports "rugged, windy conditions have made it impossible to get four trauma victims out" per the Hualapai Police Chief.


The company's website says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year on tours of the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas Strip, and other sites; this year marks the company's 100th anniversary.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the organization was assisting the National Park Service with the crash. He added that flying in the Grand Canyon can be treacherous simply because of the number of helicopters there.

Bradley said National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected at the crash scene by Sunday afternoon to begin investigating the cause. The pilot and five passengers died. The cause of the crash is now unknown.

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