3 die in Grand Canyon helicopter crash, 4 others injured

At least three killed in Grand Canyon helicopter tour crash

A helicopter crash that killed three British tourists and left four others critically injured happened on tribal land in the Grand Canyon where air tours are not as highly regulated as those inside the national park.

It came down in the Grand Canyon West area when at around 5.20pm local time (00.20 am GMT) on Saturday.

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

"It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident", Brenda Halvorsan wrote.

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

Police chief Francis Bradley told CNN: "We are having difficulties getting the four people out of the crash site area to the hospital".

Photographer Teddy Fujimoto told DailyMail.com he had flown to the Grand Canyon to take wedding pictures when he saw people rushing by.

The circumstances surrounding the crash - on the West Rim of the Canyon - are now unknown. A report issued on the investigation of the crash said it is the pilot's operation of descending too fast and too close to the scenic cliffs that led to the tragedy. The carrier flies about 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours, its website notes.

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Authorities say a tour helicopter has crashed in the Grand Canyon, killing three people. National Weather Service meteorologists in Flagstaff and Phoenix said wind conditions were an estimated 16 kilometres per hour with gusts of 32 kilometres per hour around the time of the crash.

Papillon Airways is expected to release a statement Sunday.

It also says it "abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration".

The pilot and five tourists from NY were killed, while one woman survived.

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