Britons killed in Grand Canyon helicopter crash named

Burning wreckage at the crash site in Arizona.   Teddy Fujimoto via AP

Burning wreckage at the crash site in Arizona. Teddy Fujimoto via AP

Three Britons who died when a helicopter crashed in the Grand Canyon have been named.

USA media outlets report Becky Dobson, 27, Jason Hill, 32, and Stuart Hill, 30, died in the incident on Saturday afternoon, while three further Britons were taken to hospital.

Police say three people died and four others were hurt. They have been named as Ellie Milward, Jonathan Udall and Jennifer Barham. Three passengers and the pilot were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital early Sunday, Bradley said, according to the Arizona Republic.

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

National Weather Service meteorologists in Flagstaff and Phoenix said wind conditions were an estimated 10 miles per hour with gusts of 20 miles per hour around the time of the crash.

"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 spokeswoman said.

Bradley said National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected at the crash scene by Sunday afternoon to begin investigating the cause.

Another witness, Lionel Douglass, told ABC News that he saw the helicopter doing two complete circles "as if the pilot was searching for a spot to set the aircraft down" before it plummeted. "Her clothes probably were burnt off", Fujimoto told KSNV. "Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff", Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said Sunday. Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, run by Papillon Airways, prides itself as being "the world's largest aerial sightseeing company" and "the only way to tour the Grand Canyon".

The Federal Aviation Administration also will be investigating the crash of the Eurocopter EC130, spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. It notes that it "abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration". The pilot and five passengers were killed; one passenger survived, NTSB report shows.

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