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Las Vegas tour helicopter crashes near Lake Mead, killing 5

December 7, 2011 |  8:02 pm


Five people were killed Wednesday when a helicopter flying tourists over Nevada’s Hoover Dam slammed into a mountain range that borders Lake Mead, authorities said.

The aircraft crashed into the River Mountains east of Las Vegas just before 5 p.m., Andrew Munoz, a National Park Service spokesman, told The Times. The identities of the pilot and four passengers on board have not been released.

Authorities reached the rugged site by helicopter -– the only way to access it -– and confirmed that no one had survived the crash, he said. Because the sun had set, authorities will return to the wreckage Thursday to recover the bodies.

The Eurocopter AS350 had departed from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. It was operated by Sundance Helicopters, Munoz said, a tour company that frequently flies over Lake Mead en route to the Hoover Dam.


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--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas

Caption: An aerial view of Lake Mead. Credit: Joe Cavaretta / Associated Press