Three people were killed and four were injured when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in the Grand Canyon, officials said.
The Papillon Airways EC130, which was carrying a pilot and six passengers, crashed under unknown circumstances near Quartermaster Canyon on the Hualapai Reservation at about 5:20 p.m. Saturday.
Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley said the tour helicopter, was traveling from Las Vegas, Nev., when it crashed about 60 miles west of Palm Springs, Ariz.
First responders had difficulty reaching the crash site and were assisted by military aircraft from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas to evacuate the injured, authorities said.
“High winds, the darkness and the extreme rugged terrain where the crash site is located” hampered rescue efforts, Bradley said.
The fatally injured victims were identified as Becky Dobson, 27; her boyfriend Stuart Hill, 30; and his brother Jason Hill, 32. All three were tourists visiting from Great Britain.
Three other British tourists, Jonathan Udall, 32; Ellie Milward, 29; and Jennifer Barham, 39, survived the crash. They were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital. The pilot, 42-year-old Scott Booth, 42, was also hospitalized.
Photos of the crash scene showed dark smoke and high flames rising from the wrecked aircraft.
Las Vegas-based photographer Teddy Fujimoto was photographing a wedding about 500 feet above where the crash occurred.
“Everyone kind of ran over to see what happened,” he said.
Fujimoto said he could hear screams and see two women make their way out of the helicopter after the crash.
“It was horrible,” he said.
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has held the title of the world’s oldest and largest sightseeing company since 1965, according to its website. The carrier flies about 600,000 passengers a year on Grand Canyon and other tours, its website notes.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
"It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident," Brenda Halvorson, CEO of Papillon Group, said in a statement to InsideEdition.com. "Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff.
"Family members seeking immediate assistance, please call 1-866-512-9121. We are cooperating fully with NTSB investigators and local authorities."