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Seven hurt as Grand Canyon tour helicopter makes hard landing

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A Grand Canyon tour helicopter made a hard landing at a Las Vegas-area airport, injuring seven people, officials said on Wednesday. Authorities are investigating the cause.

Local responders and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) characterised it as a “hard landing” around 4.30pm on Tuesday at Boulder City Municipal Airport, while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) called it a crash while landing.

A photo posted on Facebook showed the red helicopter upright in a flat desert area. There were no reports of a fire.

The pilot and six passengers were taken to hospitals in Las Vegas and suburban Henderson for treatment of injuries that Boulder City spokesperson Lisa LaPlante called not life-threatening.

The FAA said it is investigating, and the NTSB identified the operator of the Airbus Helicopters EC130 T2 as Las Vegas-based Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter air tours.

Papillon representatives did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a telephone message.

FlightAware, an air traffic database, reported that the 25-minute flight originated at the Grand Canyon near Kingman, Arizona, and was headed for the Boulder City airport. Boulder City is a 30-minute drive from downtown Las Vegas.

NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson said a preliminary report should be available within about three weeks.

A crashed Grand Canyon tour helicopter at Boulder City. PHOTO: AP