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British brothers, fiancee on ‘trip of a lifetime’

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USA Today NetworkJerod MacDonald-Evoy and Lily Altavena, The Arizona Republic
Published 12:40 p.m. ET Feb. 12, 2018 | Updated 12:41 p.m. ET Feb. 12, 2018

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Hualapai Police Chief Francis Bradley gives an update on the Grand Canyon helicopter crash that killed three. Michael Chow/azcentral.com

PHOENIX — Two brothers from England, along with the fiancee of one of the men, were identified by British media as the three killed in a tour helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon on Saturday.

All six of the passengers on the fatal Papillon Airways flight were traveling together on a 30th birthday “trip of a lifetime,” according to the Evening Standard. All originally were from the seaside city of Worthing, England, according to several reports.

The crash killed Becky Dobson, 27, Jason Hill, 32, and Stuart Hill, 30. Four others were injured: passengers Ellie Milward, 29, Jonathan Udall, 32, and Jennifer Barham, 39, and pilot Scott Booth, 42.

Feb. 12: Grand Canyon helicopter crash: Experts say crowded airspace is ‘a recipe for disaster’

The four survivors were flown to a Las Vegas hospital.

‘They were truly loved’

Stuart Hill, who had just turned 30, and Dobson were engaged, according to media reports. Jason and Stuart Hill were brothers.

“They were truly loved by lots of people,” Rev. David Hill, Jason and Stuart Hill’s father, told the Standard. “They were incredibly close, and as parents we feel blessed to have had them, but a light has truly gone out.”

Jason Hill worked as a lawyer and Stuart Hill was a Mercedes-Benz car salesman, their father said in the Standard

According to The (Brighton, England) Argus, Jason Hill worked for Shoosmiths Solicitors and was about to become a partner.

Feb. 11: Grand Canyon helicopter crash victims identified, were from the U.K.

“He was hardworking, full of energy and enjoyable to work with, and we are greatly saddened by the news of his death and that of his brother Stuart,” Claire Rowe, chief executive at Shoosmiths LLP, told The Argus.

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Stuart Hill sold Mercedes-Benz for Lookers, a nationwide car retailer. A Lookers spokeswoman told The Argus that Stuart “was a popular, highly valued and greatly respected member of the Lookers Mercedes team in Brighton, and he will be sorely missed by all of his colleagues, customers and friends in the business.”

The BBC and other British media reported that Dobson was a veterinary receptionist in Worthing.

In an online bio at Vets4Pets, a veterinary clinic, Dobson said she enjoyed spending time with her horse, Buddy, as well as traveling to see “what is out there beyond good old Worthing.” 

Her dream was to become a veterinary nurse, the bio noted. 

The local Worthing Journal said Dobson and the Hills all were from the seaside city of 100,000.

Feb. 10: 3 dead, 4 injured after helicopter crashes in Grand Canyon

“Incredibly sad news and my sincere condolences to family and friends,” the newspaper’s Facebook post said. 

The Worthing Herald published a statement from the clinic: “We were all devastated to learn of Becky’s loss in this tragic accident. She will be greatly missed by all her colleagues in the practice and by our clients. Our thoughts are with Becky’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Survivor ‘still alive and breathing’

Four survivors, including the pilot, are at a Las Vegas hospital. 

Udall’s father, Philip Udall, told the Evening Standard that his son married Ellie Milward, another crash survivor, in November.  

“Jon is still alive and breathing, we are so thankful for that,” Udall told the Standard. “He’s in a serious but stable condition in hospital, but we hope he’s going to be OK.”

He added that Milward “is stable at the moment and not as seriously injured as Jon.”

British newspapers react

The British tabloid newspaper The Sun ran with the headline “Chopper Smash.” 

Many British news outlets quoted a United Kingdom Foreign Office spokesperson, who said those at the Foreign Office are in contact with U.S. emergency services personnel and are providing support to the families of the six British tourists. 

The daily newspaper The Telegraph emphasized the amount of time it took to rescue the survivors of the fiery crash — almost nine hours. The crash occurred about 5:20 p.m. Saturday, and the survivors were flown from the crash site after 2 a.m. Sunday.

Winds, rugged terrain and the crash site’s remote location slowed rescue efforts.

Follow Jerod MacDonald-Evoy and Lily Altavena on Twitter: @JerodMacEvoy and @lilyalta

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