A luxury sunset tour by helicopter of the Las Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam ended tragically last night as the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain. The pilot and all four passengers were killed in the crash.
National Park Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said that the helicopter, operated by Sundance Helicopters, crashed into the side of the River Mountains surrounding Lake Mead. The crash occurred just before 5 p.m.
The Huffington Post reports that the helicopter crash occurred at a remote site about 30 miles from the Las Vegas strip. Rescue workers weren’t able to get to the crash site, since it wasn’t accessible by road, until early Thursday morning.
A Sundance Helicopters spokesman said that the helicopter was giving a local tour when it went missing. The spokesman didn’t give any other details. Times Leader reports that the 30-minute “Twilight City Tour” brings people over downtown Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and the Las Vegas Strip for $210 per person.
The FAA is currently investigating the incident. According to the FAA, the helicopter that crashed near the Hoover Dam was an AS-350 that was built in 1989.
Sundance’s website says:
“All our helicopters are maintained with exacting precision and our pilots are trained then retrained with ongoing recertification in excess of FAA requirements.”
Sundance Helicopters has had accidents in the past, however. In 2003, six passengers were killed when a helicopter crashed in the Grand Canyon. Sundance says it has a 23-helicopter fleet that serves more than 160,000 passengers annually.
Here’s a news report about the Hoover Dam helicopter crash.
The FAA hasn’t determined the cause of the accident. According to the Times Leader, the weather was mostly clear with winds at 5 mph.