Three people were killed and four others were injured after a helicopter with seven aboard crashed in the Grand Canyon Saturday, authorities said.
Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis E. Bradley Sr. said that a helicopter believed to be out of Las Vegas crashed near Quartermaster Canyon in the Grand Canyon West area and that the investigation is ongoing. He said the passengers were on a helicopter tour.
There were six passengers and a pilot aboard the helicopter when it crashed, he said during a news conference Sunday. All of the passengers were from the United Kingdom, and the victims had been identified.
Bradley said Sunday that rescue efforts concluded around 2 a.m. with "every one of the survivors" being flown out by helicopter to a hospital. They were in critical condition, he said.
He said first responders were flown in and hiked about 20 minutes to reach the crash site on Saturday, but high winds, dust conditions and rugged terrain prevented rescuers from evacuating the wounded.
The rescuers then had to tend to the survivors and keep them stabilized until conditions improved enough to evacuate everyone, he said. Some of the injured suffered severe burns and severe injuries to their limbs.
Bradley said Saturday night that the four injured people could not immediately be transported by air due to 50 mph wind gusts, but state department of public safety helicopters were at the scene. Nellis Air Force Base in the Las Vegas area was flying down to help, he said.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said that a Eurocopter EC130 crashed under unknown circumstances.
The spokesperson, Allen Kenitzer, said the aircraft sustained substantial damage and that the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
NBC affiliate KPNX of Phoenix reported that the crash happened just before 5:30 p.m. around 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona.