It is too soon to tell what caused the sightseeing tour helicopter to crash into a remote, rugged area near the Colorado River last night.
National Safety Transportation Board investigators will arrive on scene to determine what caused the crash.
Sundance Helicopters, the operator of the tour, runs 23 copters, and flies over 160,000 persons annually from McCarron International Airport (Las Vegas). With three other helo tour companies, about 469,000 persons per year fly over the Las Vegas Strip, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. These tours start at over $200. Sundance has about a third of the business, grossing about $32 million per year.
Sundance had a prior fatal tour crash in 2003; the NTSB blamed "unsafe flying procedures" for seven deaths.
Unlike my November entry Hawaiian Helicopter Tour Crash Fatal for Five, it does not appear that bad weather contributed to the cause of the crash. A news report indicated that Sundance had received at least two customer written complaints about the crash pilot flying "close to canyon walls, and at bank angles, pitch altitudes and airspeed".
It is no surprise that Sundance's website says that their equipment is maintained with exacting precision, and that their pilots are trained and retrained.
The NTSB may have the last word on this tragedy.