by Donald Wood
Last updated: 12:30 AM ET, Tue February 13, 2018
A helicopter carrying tourists around the Grand Canyon crashed Saturday, killing three people and injuring four others.
According to CBSNews.com, the Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters chopper was flying near the Grand Canyon's West Rim when it crashed into the jagged rocks, sending flames and black smoke into the sky.
Windy conditions, rugged terrain, and darkness made rescue attempts even more difficult, but four survivors were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital. All six of the passengers were from the United Kingdom and the pilot was from the United States.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have launched investigations to find the cause of the crash. The tour company has offered investigators its full support.
"It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident," Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson told CBS News. "Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff."
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The surviving passengers were identified as pilot Scott Booth, 42, and passengers Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathon Udall, 32 and Jennifer Barham, 39. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office revealed the identities of those who died in the accident as Becky Dobson, 27, Jason Hill, 32 and Stuart Hill, 30.
Saturday's crash wasn't the first time a Papillon aircraft went down in the Grand Canyon. In 2001, one of the company's helicopters crashed near Meadview, Arizona, killing the pilot and five passengers.
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