Stephanie Petit
February 11, 2018 10:55 AM

A tourist helicopter carrying six passengers and a pilot crashed in the Grand Canyon on Saturday, killing three people and injuring four.

Chief Francis E. Bradley of the Hualapai reservation confirmed in a statement on Sunday morning that a helicopter from Papillon Airways went down around 5:20 p.m. local time near Quartermaster Canyon — a valley in Grand Canyon National Park — 60 miles west of Palm Springs, Arizona.

He said the four survivors are level 1 trauma patients, but “rescue efforts are being hampered by high winds, the darkness and the extreme rugged terrain where the crash site is located. The only access to the crash site area is by foot on a 20-mile hike or by helicopter.”

Alongside the message, Bradley said that as of Sunday morning rescue operations had concluded.

Bradley told CNN that military aircraft from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas assisted in evacuating the injured overnight.

Witness Teddy Fujimoto, who was taking photos in the area of the crash, told CNN affiliate KSNV, “I saw these two ladies run out of it, and then an explosion. One of the survivors…looked all bloody. Her clothes probably were burnt off.”

He added, “The ladies were screaming…It was just horrible.”

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told ABC News that the crash occurred “under unknown circumstances” and said the helicopter “sustained substantial damage.”

Kenitzer also said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, according to NBC News.

Papillon caters to 600,000 guests each year at sites including the Grand Canyon, according to their website. They call themselves the “oldest Grand Canyon helicopter sightseeing company,” in business since 1965.

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