Tuesday 24 April 2018

Five killed in tourist helicopter crash near Las Vegas

Amy Willis, Los Angeles

Five people are believed to have been killed after a tourist helicopter flying from Las Vegas crashed near the Hoover Dam.

The pilot of the helicopter and all four passengers died in the crash, which happened just before 5pm local time approximately 12 miles east of Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter crashed during the late afternoon, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

The helicopter was on fire as rescue teams arrived at the scene, but the crew were unable to reach the wreckage due to the rugged terrain, a spokesman for Lake Mead National Park Service said.

An officer from Las Vegas had to be lowered from a police helicopter to scout for survivors, the spokesman said.

"We were notified just before 5pm of a helicopter crash. We responded with park rangers at the scene but were not able to get to the scene due to the rugged terrain," the spokesman said.

No further details about the circumstances of the crash were confirmed, including the identities of the passengers onboard the helicopter.

The helicopter is part of a fleet of aircrafts belonging to Sundance helicopters, according to the park service. The aircraft is believed to have been on a tour flight from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam and back when it crashed.

"Sundance Helicopters regrets to report that a Sundance helicopter with five people on board went down 16 miles east of Las Vegas at approximately 4:45 this evening," company CEO Larry Pietropaulo said in a statement.

"Emergency personnel on the scene reported there were no survivors. Names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. Sundance Helicopters is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB in the investigation."

Sundance offers a helicopter tour to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, according to the company's website.

Sundance helicopters have said they will be releasing another statement tomorrow about the identities of the five killed in the crash.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

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