Flights resume on tribal land after fatal Grand Canyon crash

In this Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, photo, a survivor, lower right, walks away from the scene of a deadly tour helicopter crash along the jagged rocks of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. (Teddy Fujimoto via AP)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Flight restrictions put in place in the Grand Canyon after a sightseeing helicopter crashed last weekend have been lifted.

Three British tourists were killed in the crash Saturday on tribal land outside the national park. The medical examiner's office where the autopsies were done said Wednesday the friends died of multiple injuries from the crash but did not elaborate.

The pilot and three other Britons were critically injured and taken to a Las Vegas trauma center.

The Federal Aviation Administration had imposed flight restrictions on part of the Hualapai reservation for any aircraft not involved in rescue and recovery efforts. Those restrictions were lifted late Tuesday evening, allowing air tours around the crash site to resume, the agency said.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators will interview witnesses, survivors, the helicopter operator and manufacturer and others before issuing a full report in more than a year. Preliminary findings are expected before the end of the month.

The wreckage of the helicopter was recovered and taken out of the canyon Tuesday. It's been moved to Phoenix to be examined by the NTSB as part of its investigation, according to authorities.

The Airbus EC130 B4 crashed just before sunset in a section of the Grand Canyon where air tours aren't as highly regulated as in the national park. Guests attending a wedding and people on the canyon's rim saw smoke billowing from the canyon and the aircraft in flames. The same helicopter had sustained minor damage in 2012 when its nose touched the ground as the pilot attempted to land at the bottom of the canyon. No injuries were reported.

The pilot, Scott Booth, suffered a limb injury in Saturday's crash. He has was certified as a commercial pilot in 2008 and as a helicopter flight instructor in 2016. He hasn't been the subject of sanctions or involved in an accident as a pilot, according to the FAA.

The crash killed veterinary receptionist Becky Dobson, 27; her boyfriend Stuart Hill, a 30-year-old car salesman; and his brother, Jason Hill, a 32-year-old lawyer. They were celebrating Stuart Hill's birthday with a trip to Las Vegas and a Grand Canyon sightseeing tour.

The other survivors being treated for critical injuries are Ellie Milward, 29; Jonathan Udall, 32; and Jennifer Barham, 39.

___

Associated Press writer Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this story.

Must Read

Lawyer: Timbuktu residents felt shame after sites...

Aug 24, 2016

By reducing historic mausoleums in Timbuktu to dusty piles of rubble, Islamic extremists desecrated...

Relatives of MH17 victims seek EU help in getting...

Aug 31, 2016

Frustrated relatives of those killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky over...

Dutch lawmakers extend tolerance to cultivating...

Feb 21, 2017

Dutch lawmakers have voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could...

Dutch minister calls for funds for Syria war...

Mar 9, 2017

The Dutch foreign minister paid tribute Thursday to activists who risk their lives in Syria to...

Coloring book with Hitler image pulled from Dutch...

Apr 6, 2017

A chain of Dutch stores has apologized after inadvertently selling children's coloring books...

People also read these

Dutch lawmakers extend tolerance to cultivating...

Feb 21, 2017

Dutch lawmakers have voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could...

Turkey dispute timing may benefit Dutch premier...

Mar 12, 2017

Just days away from national elections at which he is seeking a third term in office, Dutch Prime...

Dutch prime minister builds consensus the...

Mar 14, 2017

Dutch prime minister builds consensus the traditional way

The Latest: French candidate Macron welcomes...

Mar 16, 2017

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has welcomed Prime Minister Mark Rutte's victory in...

AkzoNobel rejects third takeover bid from PPG...

May 8, 2017

Dutch industrial paints and chemicals company AkzoNobel has rejected a third unsolicited takeover...