Tragedy over the Grand Canyon as Helicopter Downed during 50+ mph Winds
February 10, 2018
RSS Strong winds in the area of the Grand Canyon, and a perhaps ill advised helicopter flight, turned tragic today as a vessel operated by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters went down during the gusts. Six passengers and the pilot were the victims of the crash, with three individuals reported killed, with the other four sustaining various injuries after the crash.
It was reported a helicopter form the Air Force Base Nellis was flying in to be of assistance near the Quatermaster Canyon within the Hualapai Nation. Evidently, the helicopter crashed in the Grand Wash Cliffs on the reservation. Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley reported the passengers where on tour, and that rescue efforts where troublesome due to the weather conditions. Additionally, one of two helicopters sent by the Arizona Department of Public Safety was grounded prior to attempting rescue efforts. At the moment of this release, all relevant details have not been accounted, but there will surely be more to follow.
This is not the first helicopter accident Papillion has had on it's watch, with a 2001 flight full of New Yorkers' similarly going doing over the Grand Canyon. An event that saw over 1,500 mourners attend a funeral after five people were killed during the crash, leaving three children among other victims of the tragedy. The passengers in the helicopter have yet not been identified, however the accident, deaths, and injuries sustained during the flight will be investigated. Unfortunately, operators of helicopter flights to the Grand Canyon fly with no set rules or boundaries, and this flight shall surely be called into question.
The wind speeds today were measured over 50 mphs, winds that would question whether a flight was advisable in the first place. The Eurocopter EC130 went down under unidentified circumstances as reported by Allen Kenitzer, an Alaskan Regional public affairs coordinator for the Federal Aviation Administration. TheLaw Firm of Benson & Bingham would like to offer our sincere condolences and best wishes to the surviving victims of the crash. The question now becomes whether the accident could have been avoided if proper care was taken before and prior to the crash. Investigations by both the FAA as well as individual accident investigators should turn up the facts of the case, and whether negligence played a part in the final sad outcome.