At least 3 dead, others injured in helicopter crash near Grand Canyon

At least 3 dead, others injured in helicopter crash near Grand Canyon

The company operating a helicopter that crashed near the Grand Canyon, killing three British tourists, was previously investigated over three other fatal accidents.

Becky Dobson, Jason Hill, and Stuart Hill died after their helicopter, which was taking them around the canyon, dropped out of the sky around 5.20 p.m. local time (MST) on Saturday, police said.

Hualapai Nation police Chief Francis Bradley tells the Arizona Republic that the pilot and three passengers were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital early Sunday.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are providing support to the families of six British visitors involved in a helicopter accident at the Grand Canyon on February 10th, and we are in close contact with the United States emergency services".

Police Chief Francis Bradley, of the surrounding Hualapai Indian reservation, earlier told U.S. media that the local terrain had hampered rescue efforts overnight.

Crews will work Sunday to retrieve the bodies of those who died in the crash, Bradley said, but weather conditions were hampering efforts.

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

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A still from video footage of the crash's aftermath.

"A Eurocopter EC130 "sustained substantial damage" when a crash was caused "under unknown circumstances" in the Grand Canyon", Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the FAA, told ABC News.

"I saw these two ladies run out of it, and then an explosion".

The helicopter was operated by tour company Papillon Airways.

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". "Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff".

Seven people, including the pilot were on board a Papillon tourist helicopter from Las Vegas when it crashed Saturday night.

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