- First fatal Eurocopter EC130 crash since October 2016
- Papillon gelicopters based out of Boulder City Nevada
- Three died in incident
Four surviving victims of a deadly Saturday evening helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon were hospitalised Sunday in Las Vegas after a prolonged rescue effort, officials said.
Six passengers and a pilot were on board the Eurocopter EC130 belonging to Boulder City-based Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters when it crashed about 5:20 p.m. Saturday near Quartermaster Canyon, about 60 miles west of Peach Springs, Arizona.
The last fatal accidents involving an EC130 were incidents involving the Vietnam Helicopter Corporation and the EAPA Sociedade Agropecuária de Angola in October 2016. On August 10, 2001, a Eurocopter AS350 operated by Papillon, on an air tour out of Las Vegas, crashed and burned in the Grand Wash Cliffs area, near Meadview. The pilot and five passengers were killed. In all 42 fatalities have been recorded in 48 accidents involving the EC130.
The crash killed three people and injured four others, who were being treated at the scene until about 2 a.m. Sunday when emergency personnel were able to extract the victims from the crash site and airlift them to University Medical Centre. As of 10 a.m. Sunday, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed the four victims were still alive but in critical condition.
In the aftermath of the crash, strong winds gusting up to 50 mph Saturday evening and the rugged terrain were making it difficult for first responders to reach the victims.
Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “We are now in a recovery and investigative mode. National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to respond to the scene sometime Sunday afternoon.
FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances and had sustained “substantial damage.”