3 people killed in helicopter crash near Grand Canyon
12 February, 2018, 01:15
Officials say at least three people were killed, with others injured and possibly missing. Allen Kenitzer, of the Federal Aviation Authority's Office of Communications, told AFP the aircraft sustained "substantial damage".
Photographer Teddy Fujimoto told DailyMail.com he had flown to the Grand Canyon to take wedding pictures when he saw people rushing by.
Images have emerged showing flames and thick smoke rising from the boulder-strewn crash site. Papillion Airways is based in the Las Vegas area.
According to Bradley, rescue efforts are being hindered by high winds, darkness and extremely rugged terrain where the crash is located.
National Weather Service meteorologists in Flagstaff and Phoenix said wind conditions were an estimated 10 miles per hour (16 kph) with gusts of 20 miles per hour (32 kph) around the time of the crash. But the touring operation, which attracts 600,000 passengers a year, lost money its first four years, Halvorson recalled at the time.
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'Our pilot and other pilots all started running, ' he said. "By the time they did, most of the fire was out". "We had to learn how to market Las Vegas", he said.
On its website, Papillon Airways calls itself as "oldest Grand Canyon helicopter sightseeing company". It also noted that it "abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration".
An NTSB report issued in 2004 blamed the pilot's decision to descend too fast and too close to the scenic Grand Wash Cliffs.
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