Three die in Grand Canyon helicopter crash

Rugged terrain and poor conditions are hindering the rescue of four survivors of a deadly helicopter crash in Arizona's Grand Canyon, a police official says.

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 10:26 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 10:26 AM

Three people died when a EC-130 helicopter operated by sightseeing tour company Papillon Airways went down at 5:20 p.m. (7:20 p.m. ET) Saturday near Quartermaster Canyon, within the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Nation.

Three other passengers and the pilot were injured.

The six passengers on board were visiting from the United Kingdom, Police Chief Francis E. Bradley Sr. of the Hualapai reservation said.

Passengers Becky Dobson, 27, Jason Hill, 32, and Stuart Hill, 30, suffered fatal injuries in the crash, according to a news release from the Hualapai Nation Police Department. Their bodies were recovered early Sunday afternoon.

The survivors of the crash were rescued during an operation that stretched into the early hours of Sunday morning, Bradley said.

The injured pilot was identified as Scott Booth, 42. The hospitalized passengers were identified as Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39, according to the police news release.

Rescue efforts

In a statement, Bradley expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the crash victims.

He said first responders and rescuers had arrived at the scene within 30 minutes of the crash: "Without their valiant and diligent efforts to stabilize and rescue the survivors under extreme conditions, we may have had more loss of life," he said.

Bradley earlier said first responders had been hindered by windy, dark and rugged conditions and had a 20-minute hike to the crash scene.

Rescuers got help from military aircraft from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and were eventually able to fly all four of the injured to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, he said. The pilot had severe injury to one of his limbs.

Photos of the crash scene showed flames and dark smoke rising from rocky terrain.

Teddy Fujimoto told CNN affiliate KSNV he was in the area taking photographs when he witnessed the aftermath of the crash.

"I saw these two ladies run out of it, and then an explosion. One of the survivors ... looked all bloody. Her clothes probably were burnt off," Fujimoto told KSNV.

"The ladies were screaming. ... It was just horrible," he said.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer earlier said the aircraft sustained considerable damage in the crash.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Kenitzer said.

Papillon Airways describes itself on its website as "the world's largest aerial sightseeing company" and adds that it provides "the only way to tour the Grand Canyon."

The company says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours. It also notes that it "abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration."

"It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident. Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff," Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said Sunday.

NTSB records show a helicopter operated by Papillon was involved in a deadly crash on August 10, 2001, near Meadview, Arizona. The pilot and five passengers were killed; one passenger survived, the NTSB report shows.

NTSB investigators determined the probable cause of the 2001 crash was pilot error.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51612

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12074693
Lake5650249
Elkhart361860
Allen2952134
St. Joseph214869
Hamilton1708101
Cass16459
Hendricks1466100
Johnson1345118
Porter84038
Tippecanoe7799
Vanderburgh7686
Clark71144
Madison67864
LaPorte62328
Howard60758
Bartholomew60145
Kosciusko5824
Marshall5579
Noble52028
Boone49144
LaGrange48610
Jackson4783
Delaware47552
Hancock46836
Shelby45925
Floyd41444
Monroe34828
Morgan34531
Grant32226
Dubois3096
Montgomery29820
Henry29618
Clinton2903
White27610
Dearborn26523
Warrick26129
Vigo2588
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Harrison21822
Greene19632
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1586
Daviess15117
Perry14910
Steuben1382
Orange13723
Jasper1362
Ripley1347
Franklin1288
Gibson1242
Wabash1163
Carroll1142
Starke1083
Whitley1076
Fayette1067
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells821
Randolph804
Fulton731
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush623
Posey610
Spencer571
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 65592

Reported Deaths: 3058
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12035447
Cuyahoga9208399
Hamilton6950208
Lucas3007306
Marion274839
Montgomery251336
Summit2351209
Pickaway222741
Mahoning1948239
Butler186347
Columbiana138560
Stark1225116
Lorain115269
Trumbull105378
Warren100926
Clark81610
Delaware72415
Fairfield69217
Lake60923
Tuscarawas60910
Medina58932
Licking58312
Belmont57024
Miami51031
Portage50260
Clermont4977
Wood49451
Ashtabula44844
Geauga42843
Richland3786
Wayne37355
Allen36641
Greene3469
Mercer30210
Erie28622
Holmes2615
Darke25926
Huron2472
Madison2229
Ottawa19324
Sandusky16915
Athens1671
Ross1483
Washington14620
Coshocton1424
Putnam14215
Crawford1415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Jefferson1152
Auglaize1114
Muskingum1041
Union1021
Preble911
Clinton892
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence860
Guernsey813
Hocking819
Williams762
Shelby754
Logan711
Scioto710
Carroll703
Ashland682
Fulton670
Brown631
Wyandot635
Champaign551
Fayette550
Knox551
Defiance543
Highland531
Van Wert491
Perry461
Seneca412
Henry350
Paulding320
Jackson300
Pike290
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia211
Harrison141
Noble140
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Few Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Warmer Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events