Condition improves of victim in Grand Canyon helicopter crash
PHOENIX — One of the British tourists who survived a fiery helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon has been upgraded to fair condition at a Nevada hospital.
Jennifer Barham, 39, had been in critical condition since the sightseeing helicopter from Las Vegas went down on Feb. 10 on tribal land outside Grand Canyon National Park.
Barham and the pilot, 42-year-old Scott Booth, are the only two survivors in the crash that has claimed the lives of five people so far.
Booth remains in critical condition, according to a spokesman for University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.
Becky Dobson, 27; Jason Hill, 32; and Stuart Hill, 30, were killed in the crash. Ellie Milward, 29, and her husband, Jonathan Udall, died later from injuries suffered in the same crash.
A preliminary report released last month said the sightseeing helicopter made at least two 360-degree turns before crashing in the Grand Canyon.
The National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report doesn’t say what caused the crash, but aviation expert Jerry Kidrick said the report’s description of the helicopter’s movements as recounted by witnesses indicates its tail rotor wasn’t working properly to keep the helicopter from spinning.
“There’s no reason for that aircraft to be spinning 360 to the left … unless the tail rotor is not being effective,” likely due to a mechanical problem or gusty wind conditions in the canyon, said Kidrick.
The Airbus EC130 B4 copter operated by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters crashed in a rocky wash while approaching landing pads at Quartermaster Canyon on tribal land outside Grand Canyon National Park after flying from Boulder City, Nevada.
A full NTSB report won’t be done for more than a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.