Grand Canyon helicopter crash victims named

Posted February 15, 2018

Three British tourists have been killed after the American tour helicopter they were in crashed onto the jagged rocks of the Grand Canyon.

On August 10, 2001, a helicopter flown by Papillon Airways, carrying passengers from NY, took off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas about 12:45 p.m.to tour the west Grand Canyon area.

Rescue crews were flown in and then used night vision goggles to find their way around, police chief Francis Bradley said.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected at the crash scene to begin investigating the cause. According to the company's website, it flies about 600,000 passengers a year in its provided tours.

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Three other Britons Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39 along with the pilot Scott Booth, 42, were injured when the Papillon tour helicopter came down at about 17:20 local time (00:20 GMT) in Arizona. "We are in the recovery and investigation mode now", Mr Bradley said.

Photographer Teddy Fujimoto was at the popular USA tourist spot to take wedding pictures when he noticed a commotion and saw people running.

"I got up about 6 o'clock; the sun was just starting to illuminate some of the clouds on the horizon and I'm looking at colors in the clouds and it's just incredibly quiet and it's just this extreme Zen experience", Rich Rudow, a Grand Canyon activist and explorer who has counted helicopter flights, told the Arizona Republic in a story about the helicopter noise.

Authorities say a tour helicopter has crashed in the Grand Canyon, killing three people. He said one of them "was pretty much burned all over".

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Papillon has not yet issued a public statement.

The helicopter, an Eurocopter EC130 from Airbus, "crashed under unknown circumstances in the Grand Canyon" and suffered substantial damage said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. 'Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff'.

Earlier on Saturday, the National Weather Service had warned that conditions over the Grand Canyon were windy. Even a former critic says Papillon has become a safer company in the past two decades. The pilot and five passengers died.

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