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At least three killed in Grand Canyon helicopter tour crash

At least three people were killed in a helicopter crash near the Grand Canyon with a sightseeing company behind the death of five New Yorkers in 2001.

The chopper, operated by the Las Vegas-based business Papillon, had at least seven people on board, including the pilot, when it crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation just before 5:30 p.m., Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley said.

Four other passengers were injured in the fiery wreckage, he said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer identified the downed aircraft as a Eurocopter EC130. He was unable to elaborate where the helicopter went down or what caused the crash.

The aircraft, which took off from Las Vegas, sustained “substantial damage,” Kenitzer said in an email.

An employee who answered Papillon’s aerial tour reservations phone line late Saturday declined to comment on the crash. Spokeswomen for the company did not immediately respond to repeated requests for comment.

The company has undergone multiple aviation probes by the National Transportation Safety Board since 2001, when five people from Brooklyn were killed during the canyon tour.

OCT 11 2013 PHOTO

A helicopter with Papillon tourism company takes off from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport.

(Ross D. Franklin/AP)

The American Eurocopter AS350 aircraft crashed into the Grand Wash Cliffs near Grand Canyon National Park, killing six people, including the pilot. Chana Daskal was the sole survivor of the wreckage that claimed the life of her husband and four friends.

The victims in Saturday’s crash were not identified.  


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