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Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash

Three Killed, Four Others Seriously Injured in Helicopter Crash Over Grand Canyon

Jonathan V. O'Steen

February 12, 2018

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Grand Canyon, Arizona—All sight-seeing flights over the Grand Canyon were grounded Saturday following the crash of a helicopter carrying six tourists from England, three of whom were killed.  The helicopter crashed and burst into flames Saturday at about 5:30 p.m.  The helicopter was an Airbus EC130 operated by Papillon Airways.

Another Papillon helicopter flew first responders to the scene and landed as close as possible to the wreckage.  From there, it was an additional 20 minute hike to the scene.  The pilot and three surviving passengers were treated at the scene for severe burns, among other injuries.  High winds, blowing dust, rugged terrain and the remote crash site further delayed the rescue mission.  The last of the survivors was airlifted out of the canyon around 2:00 a.m.  They were flown to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada where they remain in critical condition as of Monday.

Among the deceased were Becky Dobson, age 27, and Stuart Hill, age 30, who had just become engaged.  Stuart’s brother, Jason Hill, age 32, also died in the crash.

Survivors include Ellie Milward, age 29, and Jonathan Udall, age 32, who were married in November, pilot Scott Booth, age 42, and Jennifer Barnham, age 39.

The accident occurred in Quartermaster Canyon, which Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley described as a “canyon within a canyon” on the west side of the Grand Canyon near the Hualapai Reservation.

Rescue and investigation efforts were coordinated amongst at least seven Federal and local agencies.

We extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims and we wish speedy and full recoveries for those who were injured.  

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