Britons in Grand Canyon helicopter crash are named

At least 3 dead, others injured in helicopter crash near Grand Canyon

Authorities say four people injured in the crash of a tour helicopter have been airlifted to a Nevada hospital and crews now are recovering the bodies of the other three people aboard who died.

Francis Bradley, the chief of the local Hualapai Police, said rescue efforts were hampered by "severe weather conditions", including "gusts up to 50 miles per hour".

Passengers Becky Dobson, 27, Jason Hill, 32, and Stuart Hill, 30, suffered fatal injuries in the crash, according to a news release from the Hualapai Nation Police Department.

Hualapai Police chief Francis Bradley said: "It's a very tragic incident".

The helicopter operator, Papillion Airways, has been involved in at least three other deadly incidents in the past 20 years, says Arizona Republic.

Photos of the crash scene showed flames and dark smoke rising from rocky terrain.

Seven people, including the pilot were on board a Papillon tourist helicopter from Las Vegas when it crashed Saturday night.

The survivors could not be airlifted out of the canyon until around 2am because of high winds, police said.

Witness Lionel Douglass, who was attending a wedding about 1,000 yards away, said he saw the helicopter plummet from the sky after going around in two complete circles, as if the pilot was looking for a place to land the aircraft.

He said he then heard two or three small explosions where the wreckage was, about 600ft (183m) below from where he was standing.

Bradley says National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected at the crash scene by Sunday afternoon to begin investigating the cause of the crash. "Her clothes probably were burnt off", Fujimoto told KSNV.

The aircraft sustained substantial damage as a result of the crash.

Papillon Airways describes itself on its website as "the world's largest aerial sightseeing company" and adds that it provides "the only way to tour the Grand Canyon".

Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said in a statement Sunday that the company is extending its heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in the accident. It notes that it "abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration".

This is the first major crash for Papillon since 2001 when six people were killed in an accident. The pilot and five passengers were killed; one passenger survived, NTSB report shows.

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