Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Rescue crews seek bodies in Grand Canyon crash

AP, PHOENIX, Arizona

Four survivors of a deadly tour helicopter crash onto the jagged rocks of the Grand Canyon were being treated at a Nevada hospital while crews tackled difficult terrain in a remote area to try to recover the bodies of three other people.

Six British tourists and a pilot were on board the Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters chopper when it crashed under unknown circumstances on Saturday evening on the Hualapai Nation’s land near Quartermaster Canyon, by the Grand Canyon’s West Rim.

A witness said he saw flames and black smoke spewing from the crash site, heard explosions and saw victims who were bleeding and badly burned.

“It’s just horrible,” witness Teddy Fujimoto said. “And those victims — she was so badly burned. It’s unimaginable, the pain.”

Windy conditions, darkness and the rugged terrain made it difficult to reach the helicopter’s wreckage, Hualapai Nation police Chief Francis Bradley said.

Rescue crews had to fly in, walk to the crash site and use night vision goggles to find their way around, he said.

The survivors were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital by about 2am on Sunday, Bradley said.

All six passengers were from the UK, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed.

Three passengers and the pilot were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital early Sunday, Bradley told the Arizona Republic.

US National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected at the crash scene to begin investigating what caused the chopper to go down, Bradley said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration also will be investigating the crash, spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The tour company promised full cooperation with crash investigators.

“It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident,” Papillon Group chief executive Brenda Halvorson said in a statement. “Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff.

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