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Embry-Riddle University Professor Witnesses Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash

Collin Bowen, 6, Prescott, poses for a picture at the Grand Canyon hours before a helicopter crash at the Canyon. The cause of the crash is being investigated by the NTSB and FAA.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Brent Bowen)
Collin Bowen, 6, Prescott, poses for a picture at the Grand Canyon hours before a helicopter crash at the Canyon. The cause of the crash is being investigated by the NTSB and FAA.

A helicopter crash that occurred Saturday at the Grand Canyon, killing three people and injuring four others, is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash was witnessed by Brent Bowen, Embry-Riddle University professor of aviation, who was visiting the Grand Canyon last weekend and considered taking his son on a sightseeing tour in the same model of helicopter that crashed around 5:20 p.m. near Quartermaster Canyon. 

Bowen said “The winds were so terrible, I thought one, ‘it could be an uncomfortable experience and scare him’ and two, ‘you know, it’s just too windy and too gusty to be safe.’ And that was several hours before the actual crash.”    

According to Bowen, the touring operator, Papillon Airways, is responsible for informing pilots of inclement weather. However, he said conditions at the airport where the Eurocopter EC130 took off, likely did not match those the aircraft experienced over the Canyon.

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Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.