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Survivor runs from Grand Canyon helicopter crash
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Survivor runs from Grand Canyon helicopter crash

An American nurse holidaying in Las Vegas has told how she held the hand of a Grand Canyon helicopter crash survivor who was crying out for her boyfriend in the aftermath of an inferno that killed three Britons.

Katie Kineally, from Oregon, was on a separate sight-seeing tour of the canyon to celebrate her mother's 90th birthday when she saw the crash and raced to the fiery wreckage as smoke billowed into the sky.

She told of hearing 'inhuman screams of pain' which 'echoed throughout the canyon' as she helped survivors who had clambered out of the flames. Harrowing footage captured one woman staggering from the fireball.

Ms Kineally told Las Vegas Now: 'They were so brave because there were times when we had to say, 'we don't have any more pain medication right now. We're going to just have to have you focus and breathe for me, breath for me, hold my hand, keep talking to me,' and you know, that was probably the hardest part.'

The anaesthetist went to the aid of one woman - believed to be 39-year-old lawyer Jennifer Barham - whose boyfriend Jason Hill, 32, perished in the crash involving six friends from Worthing, West Sussex.

'Her significant other was one of the men that were not able to make it out. She just kept screaming his name over and over, wanting to know what happened,' Ms Kineally said. 

Mr Hill, also a lawyer, was killed alongside his younger brother Stuart, 30, and Stuart's veterinary receptionist girlfriend Becky Dobson, 27. Pilot Scott Booth, 42, along with passengers Ms Barham and newlyweds Ellie Milward, 29, and Jonathan Udall, 32, miraculously survived the crash. They remain in a critical condition in hospital.

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One terrified victim was seen running from the burning wreckage, as horrified witnesses looked on

It is unclear whether the survivor pictured fleeing the wreckage in the Grand Canyon is Ms Barham or Ms Milward

It is unclear whether the survivor pictured fleeing the wreckage in the Grand Canyon is Ms Barham or Ms Milward

Nurse Katie Kineally was enjoying another helicopter sightseeing tour in the Grand Canyon with her family to celebrate her mother's 90th birthday. Ms Kineally, front left, from Oregon, pictured with her daughter and son in front of a helicopter they took to see the Grand Canyon on Saturday

Nurse Katie Kineally was enjoying another helicopter sightseeing tour in the Grand Canyon with her family to celebrate her mother's 90th birthday. Ms Kineally, front left, from Oregon, pictured with her daughter and son in front of a helicopter they took to see the Grand Canyon on Saturday

Brothers Stuart, 30, (left) and Jason Hill, 32 (right) were with friends celebrating Stuart's 30th birthday. Their father  paid tribute to his 'wonderful boys' describing them as 'inseparable'. He said he found consolation in the fact the pair died together

Brothers Stuart, 30, (left) and Jason Hill, 32 (right) were with friends celebrating Stuart's 30th birthday. Their father paid tribute to his 'wonderful boys' describing them as 'inseparable'. He said he found consolation in the fact the pair died together

Ellie Milward and her husband Jonathan Udall (pictured left on their wedding day) were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries in a crash that killed their friends Becky Dobson and Stuart Hill (right)

Ellie Milward and her husband Jonathan Udall (pictured left on their wedding day) were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries in a crash that killed their friends Becky Dobson and Stuart Hill (right)

Jason Hill, 32, was a solicitor at Shoosmiths Solicitors and was about to become a partner. A law graduate from the University of Southampton, he qualified from The College of Law in Guildford Jennifer Barham, 39, is a partner at the law firm Bircham Dyson Bell and survived the crash

Jason Hill, 32, (left) was a solicitor at Shoosmiths Solicitors and was about to become a partner. A law graduate from the University of Southampton, he qualified from The College of Law in Guildford. His girlfriend Jennifer Barham, 39, (right) is a partner at the law firm Bircham Dyson Bell and survived the crash

Four survivors of a tour helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon were airlifted to a Nevada hospital on Sunday nine hours later while crews were recovering the bodies of three others

Four survivors of a tour helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon were airlifted to a Nevada hospital on Sunday nine hours later while crews were recovering the bodies of three others

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As investigators try to piece together the events surrounding the tragedy, this is what we know so far about the crash:

The Eurocopter EC130 crashed in 'unknown circumstances' around 5.30pm on Saturday, 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona Becky Dobson, 27, her boyfriend Stuart Hill, 30, and his brother Jason Hill, 32, all diedEllie Milward, 29, her husband Jonathan Udall, 32, Jason's girlfriend Jennifer Barham, 39, and pilot Scott Booth, 42, were airlifted to hospitalSix friends saved for a year for the trip to celebrate Stuart's 30th birthday and Ellie and Jonathan's honeymoonThe survivors were stuck in the deep gauge for nine hours while they waited for emergency crews to battle through a 50mph stormWitnesses reported seeing the helicopter spin out of control before a woman staggered from the flamesThe Reverend David Hill said his sons Stuart and Jason were 'inseparable'Becky Dobson's father Peter said his daughter was 'full of life and looking forward to going to Vegas for her boyfriend's 30th birthday'Saturday's crash was Papillon's fourth fatal accident in 20 years, claiming a total of ten lives since 1999Papillon's EC-130 helicopter lacks a system to keep it from exploding on impact, denying passengers a few extra minutes to try to escape more videos 1 2 3 Watch video

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The helicopter took off from Boulder City, Nevada, on Saturday evening. It crashed in Hualapai Nation reservation, near the Grand Canyon's West Rim

The helicopter took off from Boulder City, Nevada, on Saturday evening. It crashed in Hualapai Nation reservation, near the Grand Canyon's West Rim

Witnesses told of watching in horror as the sightseeing helicopter made 'weird manoeuvres' before clipping a cliff – 'snapping off its tail end' – and plummeting 600ft to the base of the gorge.

The tragedy happened moments after a minister had married a British couple from London on a bluff about 1,000 yards away from the crash scene, with members of the wedding party rushing to help as a woman clambered out of the inferno at the Hualapai Nation reservation near the Grand Canyon's West Rim. 

Ms Kineally said she had to treat the wounded and administer IVs by torchlight in the dark, adding: 'I had an EMT standing over with a flashlight because I couldn't see anything, and I did it mostly by feel because she needed more fluid.'

The three couples were celebrating Stuart's 30th birthday as they toured the Hualapai Nation reservation near the Grand Canyon's West Rim. Pilot Scott Booth, 42, was airlifted to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

The helicopter is owned by Papillon, a sightseeing company that specialises in helicopter tours of the canyon. Saturday's crash was Papillon's fourth fatal accident in the past 20 years, claiming ten lives since 1999.

Investigators are likely to pay special attention to Papillon's EC-130 helicopter, which generally lacks a system to keep it from exploding on impact, denying passengers a few extra minutes to try to escape, according to Aviation attorney Gary C. Robb.

Jonathan Udall and his wife Ellie Milward went on the trip as part of their honeymoon after getting married last year

Jonathan Udall and his wife Ellie Milward went on the trip as part of their honeymoon after getting married last year

Wedding photographer Teddy Fujimoto told how one female survivor appeared burned over most of her body and another woman was covered in blood. 

Video footage shot by Minister Lionel Douglass, 63, shows a woman staggering away from the flames, reportedly screaming 'Jason'. It is unclear whether the survivor pictured is Ms Barham or Ms Milward.

He told The Sun: 'I was just finishing up a wedding. The couple, from London, were happy and looking at the Grand Canyon.'

He told ABC News: 'I had taken my phone and I was zooming in to see if I could see anybody and a lady walked out of the flames and I just lost it.'

He said he saw the helicopter fall and hit the bottom with the 'biggest explosion you ever heard and then flames like you never seen before'. 

British student Conrad Fish was in a helicopter in the Grand Canyon which landed moments before the crash. 

The 19-year-old 'heard a loud bang behind him' and found the survivors covered in open wounds, with their clothes torn off from the impact.

He his friend remained at the scene until midnight, almost seven hours after the crash, helping emergency services to bring in rescue supplies.

The teenager from South Cadbury in Somserset, said: 'They were all in a very bad way - they had open wounds all over their bodies, and their clothes were completely torn off.' 

And Conrad said that if circumstances had been slightly different he could have been riding in the stricken aircraft.

He said: 'We were collected from a hotel near to where we were staying, and I was sat next to some of the victims on the bus. However we had very little conversation with them and I didn't even catch their names.'

He added: 'As the helicopter came down we were taking a picture, so I didn't see the descent - but I heard a very loud bang behind us as the impact was made. A group of us started to collect things such as fire extinguishers, water, stretchers or really anything we could find that we thought might have helped.

'The walk to where the crash took place was very slippery and rugged so it made getting supplies down very hard.'

By the time Conrad and his friend reached the crash site, the survivors had managed to get clear of the helicopter.

Sarah Udall, Jonathan Udall's sister, wrote on Facebook: My brother and his beautiful wife Ellie were injured in a helicopter accident in Las Vegas it's going to be a long hard road to recovery but they are strong.' His mother Marlene said she was 'humbled' by the support the family had received 

Sarah Udall, Jonathan Udall's sister, wrote on Facebook: My brother and his beautiful wife Ellie were injured in a helicopter accident in Las Vegas it's going to be a long hard road to recovery but they are strong.' His mother Marlene said she was 'humbled' by the support the family had received 

Becky Dobson Stuart Hill and Becky Dobson

Becky Dobson (pictured left), 27, and Stuart Hill (right, with Becky) were killed in the Grand Canyon crash. They were among a group of friends including Stuart's older brother Jason, who had spent a year saving for the 'trip of a lifetime' to America to celebrate Stuart's 30th birthday

'Our only comfort is they died together': Tearful vicar pays tribute to his 'incredibly close' sons killed in Grand Canyon crash saying 'a light has truly gone out' Brothers Stuart and Jason Hill died in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon

Brothers Stuart and Jason Hill died in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon

The vicar father of two brothers killed in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon has paid tribute to his 'wonderful boys'. 

Stuart, 30, and Jason, 32, were 'inseparable', their father said

Stuart, 30, and Jason, 32, were 'inseparable', their father said

Reverent David Hill described his two sons, Stuart, 30, Jason, 32, as 'inseparable'.

The pair had been saving for the trip with a group of friends for over a year, to celebrate Stuart's 30th birthday on Friday. 

Mr Hill, a chaplain, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: 'The boys had been saving for over a year for this trip and they were really looking forward to it.

'They and a group of friends had all flown out to celebrate Stuart's birthday and it was part of the trip for them to all go on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

'We found out yesterday about the crash and me and their mother, Sandra, are truly devastated.

'The boys were so close, they were born 22 months apart and were like twins. They were just inseparable.

'Jason worked as a solicitor and Stuart worked as a car salesman, they both lived very successful lives, we were so proud of them.

'We are so lucky to have had our boys for 30 years. We are so heartbroken.' 

The helicopter crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation near the Grand Canyon's West Rim - about 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona

The helicopter crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation near the Grand Canyon's West Rim - about 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona

Stuart and Jason's grief-stricken father, Reverend David Hill, said a 'light has truly gone out' but took comfort in the 'incredibly close' brothers dying together. 

He choked back tears as described his sons, Stuart, a Mercedes car salesman, and Jason, a solicitor, as 'wonderful boys' who were 'inseparable'.   

The tragedy occurred just three months after Ellie and Jonathan got married in front of family and friends, including Becky and Stuart. 

Ellie Milward, 29, and her husband Jonathan (Jon) Udall, 32, were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries

Ellie Milward, 29, and her husband Jonathan (Jon) Udall, 32, were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries

Mr Hill, 32, was a private equity solicitor for national law firm Shoosmiths, after joining as a trainee and had worked his way up to senior associate with the company. 

Shoosmiths chief executive Claire Rowe said they were 'saddened' by the tragic passing of a 'respected' and 'loved' member of their firm.

She said: 'He was hardworking, full of energy and enjoyable to work with, and we are greatly saddened by the news of his death and that of his brother Stuart. Our immediate thoughts are with their family at this very difficult and tragic time.' 

Stuart and Jason's cousin, Holly Campbell, confirmed that Jason was with girlfriend Jennifer when the crash took place.

She said: 'This is a devastating time for our family.

'We have spoken to my uncle and we all just trying to come to terms with what has happened.

'I saw them both at my son's christening in December. They were kind, caring and loved by all who knew and met them.' 

Animal lover Becky Dobson worked as a receptionist at the Vets4Pets practice in Worthing, West Sussex, and had dreams of becoming a veterinary nurse. She described herself as an 'outgoing person, always up for having fun.'

Ms Dobson's father Peter Dobson said his daughter was 'full of life and looking forward to going to Vegas for her boyfriend's 30th birthday to celebrate'.

He added: 'She was a lovely girl. Everyone liked her, she liked her travelling - she went to Australia for a year to travel round.'

'She was always happy. They just went for a long weekend; a four-night break. They were staying in Vegas, they had been looking forward to it for a long time.

'They [Stuart and Becky] have known each other quite a while, they both live in Worthing.

'They were really happy together, they were always going out and doing things, just enjoyed being with each other. The whole thing is just terrible.' 

One witness told ABC News a young woman 'collapsed to the ground and began screaming the name Jason'.

Hualapai Nation Police Chief Francis Bradley Sr. said the survivors were taken to a Las Vegas hospital at 2am on Sunday, some nine hours after the crash. 

The four survivors are being treated as level one trauma patients, meaning they have critical, life-threatening injuries. 

Newlywed couple Ellie Milward and Jonathan Udall (pictured on their wedding day) are fighting for their lives in hospital

Newlywed couple Ellie Milward and Jonathan Udall (pictured on their wedding day) are fighting for their lives in hospital

Becky's parents booked return flights to the UK and her elder sister, Nicola Rugman, 32, was waiting for them to return

Becky's parents booked return flights to the UK and her elder sister, Nicola Rugman, 32, was waiting for them to return

Pilot Scott Booth Pilot Scott Booth (pictured), 42, was airlifted to hospital where he remains in a critical condition

Pilot Scott Booth (pictured, left and right), 42, was airlifted to hospital where he remains in a critical condition

'They were in a bad way - their clothes completely torn off': British gap year pupil, 19, tells of frantic efforts to help Grand Canyon helicopter survivors Conrad Fish, 19, was in a helicopter which landed just before the crash

Conrad Fish, 19, was in a helicopter which landed just before the crash

A British student has told how he was in a helicopter in the Grand Canyon which landed just before the crash - and spent seven hours helping rescuers at the site. 

Conrad Fish, 19, 'heard a loud bang behind him' and found the survivors covered in open wounds, with their clothes torn off from the impact.

He his friend remained at the scene until midnight, almost seven hours after the crash, helping emergency services to bring in rescue supplies.

The teenager from South Cadbury in Somserset, said: 'They were all in a very bad way - they had open wounds all over their bodies, and their clothes were completely torn off.

'Adrenaline kicked in and all I did was help carry equipment down and help the fire brigade down. The real heroes were the doctors that kept the survivors alive.' 

And Conrad said that if circumstances had been slightly different he could have been riding in the stricken aircraft.

'We were collected from a hotel near to where we were staying, and I was sat next to some of the victims on the bus. However we had very little conversation with them and I didn't even catch their names.'

He added: 'As the helicopter came down we were taking a picture, so I didn't see the descent - but I heard a very loud bang behind us as the impact was made. 

'A group of us started to collect things such as fire extinguishers, water, stretchers or really anything we could find that we thought might have helped.

'The walk to where the crash took place was very slippery and rugged so it made getting supplies down very hard.' 

Describing herself on the Vets4Pets website, Becky said: 'My favourite things to do are, spending time up the yard with my four legged, beautiful boy, Buddy the Irish sports horse, seeing friends and family and I also love to travel the world.

'I love my job and I am hoping to one day fulfil my dream of becoming a Veterinary Nurse!' 

Becky's parents booked return flights to the UK and her elder sister, Nicola Rugman, 32, was waiting for them to return.

Her mother-in-law Ellen Rugman said the whole family were 'absolutely devastated' by the shocking tragedy and the loss.

She said they were all struggling to comprehend how the accident had happened but were too upset to speak. 

Jonathan Udall, 32 and his wife, Ellie Milward, 29, went on the trip for Mr Hill's birthday and as part of their honeymoon after getting married last year, according to Jonathan's father, Philip. 

Ellie is an agency support manager for Yorkshire Building Society and works alongside her husband Jonathan, an area manager for the same company in the South East.

Speaking from the family home in Southampton, Philip Udall said the family were desperately trying to get a flight over to their son and daughter-in-law's bedside.

He said: 'We found out yesterday lunchtime that they Jonathan and Ellie had been involved in an accident.

'We don't know much more than what has been reported in the papers and we are just desperately trying to get a flight over at the moment.

'We have spoken to the hospital and they are in a critical condition but they told us they are currently stable.

'The information is currently quite sketchy but we know that other families will be suffering a lot worse than us at the moment. Others were not so lucky.

'Johnathan and Ellie were on their honeymoon after recently getting married. At this point, we don't know much more we are just in a rush to get out there. We're desperate for news.' 

The couple's friend Chris Tucker has since set up a Just Giving page to raise money to repatriate the pair. 

Jennifer Barham, 39, is a partner at the law firm Bircham Dyson Bell. 

Jenni Birchmore, a friend and colleague of Ellie Milward, said: 'I'm so, so shocked by this because Ellie and I were only talking about her trip to the US a couple of weeks ago and she was looking forward to it so much.

'I'm just hoping and praying she is going to be alright and she's not too badly injured. 

'That is should end so horribly is a tragedy. She's such a kind and compassionate person. Everyone she works with is praying for her.' 

She said Ellie was always taking part in charity fundraisers and was a 'beautiful and kind' person. 

Ellie Milward's parents, Terry and Maggie, are understood to be flying out to the US to be at their daughter's bedside.

Chief Bradley said one of the survivors suffered severe burns and the pilot had 'a severe injury to one of his limbs.'  

He said rescue crews were hampered by high winds of up to 50mph and darkness on Saturday night along with rugged terrain.

He added: 'First responders had to be flown in and walk to the crash site. Quartermaster Canyon is an extremely remote area. We had to call in specially trained crews - people with night-vision goggles.'

Hualapai Nation Police Chief, Francis Bradley Sr. (pictured) confirmed on Sunday the passengers who died were from the UK

Hualapai Nation Police Chief, Francis Bradley Sr. (pictured) confirmed on Sunday the passengers who died were from the UK

Bradley said rescue crews were hampered by high winds and darkness on Saturday night along with rugged terrain

Bradley said rescue crews were hampered by high winds and darkness on Saturday night along with rugged terrain

The helicopter is owned by Papillon, a sightseeing company that specialises in helicopter tours of the canyon (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

The helicopter is owned by Papillon, a sightseeing company that specialises in helicopter tours of the canyon (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

How good is the safety record for Papillon helicopters? Grand Canyon crash that killed three Britons is not the company's first fatal accident

The Grand Canyon helicopter crash that killed three Britons and injured their three friends is not the first tragedy to hit Papillon in recent years. 

Saturday’s crash was its fourth fatal accident in the past 20 years, claiming ten lives. 

1999: In 1999, a trainee pilot was killed and an instructor was seriously injured when a Papillon helicopter hit a tree.  

2001: In August 2001, a Grand Canyon tour helicopter operated by Papillon crashed and burned near Meaview, Arizona. The pilot and five passengers - who were all from New York - died. 

Papillon's website says it flies  600,000 passengers a year around the Grand Canyon and on other tours (Pictured, rescuers arrive at scene of crash in February 2018)

Papillon's website says it flies 600,000 passengers a year around the Grand Canyon and on other tours (Pictured, rescuers arrive at scene of crash in February 2018)

2009: In 2009, a helicopter with six passengers lost engine power after the pilot heard a 'loud pop,' but no one was injured, according to ABC 15.

2002: In 2002, a pilot was injured during a botched landing.

2014: In 2014, one of the firm's pilots died when he was struck by rotor blades when he got out of a running helicopter to go to the toilet, according to ABC 15. 

The company's website states: 'With more than 50 years flying the Grand Canyon and beyond, Papillon is the largest and most experienced helicopter tour operator in the world.

'At Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, safety is our top priority.' 

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the Eurocopter EC130 crashed in unknown circumstances and sustained heavy damage.

An investigation will take place. 

Kaitlyn Rodriguez was on the same tour as the six friends and witnessed the tragedy. 

She wrote on Facebook: 'I was on this tour and moments after our helicopter landed, witnessed the crash.

'My amazingly brave mother, along with several others, trekked down into the ravine to assist the survivors. 

'We were stranded in the Grand Canyon for hours, my Mom being at the bottom administering medical attention to the survivors for over 10 hours. 

'So very proud of her and all who helped the victims of the crash. Such a tragic accident.'

Photographer Teddy Fujimoto told DailyMail.com he had flown to the Grand Canyon to take wedding pictures when he saw people rushing by. 

'Our pilot and other pilots all started running. I followed them and I saw smoke. Immediately saw two girls. 

'I could see that they were alive and conscious. They were in their 30s or 40,' he said.

'People made their way down. It was certainly a dangerous climb down for them.

'It took around 10 minutes for the emergency services to arrive. By the time they did, most of the fire was out.' 

Fujimoto said he was left numbed by what he had seen.

'Everybody was in shock. I just felt horrible,' he said.

'I saw these two ladies run out of it then the explosion. One of the survivors was bloody and her clothes had burned off.' 

He said one woman appeared burned over most of her body and the other woman was covered in blood. 'It's unimaginable, the pain,' he added.

'You could hear the screaming loudly, even from all that way away. I've never seen anything like it'.   

The helicopter was owned by Papillon Airways, a sightseeing company that specialises in helicopter tours of the canyon.

The tour company released a statement on Sunday, promising full cooperation with crash investigators and offering sympathy.

'It is with extreme sadness we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families involved in this accident,' Papillon Group CEO Brenda Halvorson said. 

'Our top priority is the care and needs of our passengers and our staff.' 

Calls and emails to Nevada-based Papillon, which bills itself as the world's largest aerial sightseeing company, for comment on the crash were not immediately returned Sunday.

The company's website says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year around the Grand Canyon and on other tours.

It also notes that it 'abides by flight safety rules and regulations that substantially exceed the regulations required by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the crash of the Eurocopter EC130, spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. 

In 2003, seven people were killed when a Sundance helicopter hit a canyon wall, and in the 1990s there were at least six deadly crashes involving helicopters or light aircraft, killing a total of 35 people. 

The campaign group Aviation Impact Reform say there have been at least 30 'significant accidents' at the canyon since 1980, involving fatal and non-fatal injuries. 

The company's website says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year around the Grand Canyon and on other tours (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

The company's website says it flies roughly 600,000 passengers a year around the Grand Canyon and on other tours (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

Authorities said the four survivors were level one trauma patients, meaning they had critical, life-threatening injuries

Authorities said the four survivors were level one trauma patients, meaning they had critical, life-threatening injuries

A Eurocopter EC130 crashed in 'unknown circumstances' at around 5.20pm approximately 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona, authorities said The helicopter had seven people on board - six passengers and a pilot - when it crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation

A Eurocopter EC130 crashed in 'unknown circumstances' at around 5.20pm approximately 60 miles northwest of Peach Springs, Arizona, authorities said. The helicopter had seven people on board - six passengers and a pilot - when it crashed on the Hualapai Nation reservation (left and right) 

Aviation attorney Gary C. Robb said potential factors leading to the crash could include wind gusts of around 20 mph (32 kph), pilot error, mechanical failure or company pressure to meet demand for the popular Grand Canyon air tours to the reservation.

Unlike the more tightly regulated air tours within Grand Canyon National Park, helicopters on tribal land function like an airborne shuttle service, quickly depositing tourists on landing pads for lunches or hikes at the river's edge or pontoon boat rides. Just as quickly, they whisk them away.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted the Hualapai Tribe an exemption nearly two decades ago to regulations on flight times, routes and total trips because the rules would harm the tribe's economy, which relies on the busy flow of tourists.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, which flew the helicopter that crashed Saturday, said it is cooperating with the investigation and abides by flight safety regulations that exceed those required by the FAA.

Hualapai tribal leaders said they are halting helicopter tours at the canyon for now and are working with federal investigators to 'find out exactly what happened here, in what marks the first such incident to claim the life of a passenger at the West Rim in 15 years.'

Investigators are likely to pay special attention to Papillon's EC-130 helicopter, which generally lacks a system to keep it from exploding on impact, denying passengers a few extra minutes to try to escape, Robb said.

He added: 'You can't replace those three lives that were lost. 

'The irony here is it was to be a joyful, fun experience and it ended in the worst possible fashion - in death and serious injury.'

'Trip of a lifetime' turns to nightmare for six British friends: Car salesman, vet worker and lawyer are killed and their three friends hurt in helicopter crash  Becky Dobson, 27, had dreams of becoming a veterinary nurse

Becky Dobson, 27, had dreams of becoming a veterinary nurse

Becky Dobson

Animal lover Becky Dobson worked as a veterinary nurse at Vets4Pets in Worthing, West Sussex. 

The 27-year-old had dreams of becoming a veterinary nurse.

She had travelled around Australia for one year and was looking forward to the holiday with her friends and her boyfriend, Stuart Hill. 

The pair died alongside one another in the crash. 

Ms Dobson's father Peter Dobson said his daughter was 'full of life and looking forward to going to Vegas for her boyfriend's 30th birthday to celebrate'.

'She was a lovely girl. Everyone liked her, she liked her travelling - she went to Australia for a year to travel round.'

'She was always happy. They just went for a long weekend - a four-night break. They were staying in Vegas, they had been looking forward to it for a long time.

'They [Stuart and Becky] have known each other quite a while, they both live in Worthing,' he said.

'They were really happy together, they were always going out and doing things, just enjoyed being with each other. The whole thing is just terrible.'

Newlyweds Ellie Milward, 29, and Jonathan Udall, 32

Newlyweds Ellie Milward, 29, and Jonathan Udall, 32

Ellie Milward and Jonathan Udall 

Newlyweds Ellie Milward, 29, and Jonathan Udall, 32, were airlifted to hospital.

The pair went on the trip for Mr Hill's birthday and as part of their honeymoon after getting married last year, according to Jonathan's father, Philip. 

Ellie Milward is an agency support manager for Yorkshire Building Society and works alongside her husband Jonathan Udall, an area manager for the same company in the South East.

Jennifer Barham 

Jennifer Barham was on the trip with her boyfriend Jason Hill, who died. 

The 39-year-old is a partner at the law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, dealing with planning and infrastructure. 

Stuart and Jason Hill

Stuart and Jason Hill died in the crash

Stuart and Jason Hill died in the crash

Stuart Hill, 30, was on the trip to America to celebrate his 30th birthday with his brother and friends. 

Stuart, a car salesman, died alongside his girlfriend Becky.

Jason studied law at the University of Southampton, graduating in 2007 with a 2:1.

He completed his training at the College of Law in Guildford, Surrey, before joining Shoosmiths.

In September 2011, he became a corporate solicitor at the national firm.  

Their father David, a hospital chaplain, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: 'The boys had been saving for over a year for this trip and they were really looking forward to it.

'They and a group of friends had all flown out to celebrate Stuart's birthday and it was part of the trip for them to all go on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

'We found out yesterday about the crash and me and their mother, Sandra, are truly devastated.

'The boys were so close, they were born 22 months apart and were like twins.. They were just inseparable.

'Jason worked as a solicitor and Stuart worked as a car salesman, they both lived very successful lives, we were so proud of them.

'We are so lucky to have had our boys for 30 years. We are so heartbroken.'

Witnesses rushed to the scene of the accident when it occurred, but the victims were 600ft or further below them (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

Witnesses rushed to the scene of the accident when it occurred, but the victims were 600ft or further below them (Pictured, rescuers arrive)

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