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Entries in Lake Mead (2)

Thursday
Dec082011

Feds Investigate Helicopter Crash That Killed 5 Near Lake Mead

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- A helicopter crash that killed five people on a sunset sightseeing tour just 30 miles outside the Las Vegas Strip was under federal investigation Thursday.

Details remained sketchy, though a National Transportation Safety Board official said the company that operated the helicopter involved in Wednesday’s crash "has a history.”

The Clark County coroner late Thursday still was not officially identifying the victims the crash, though The Las Vegas Review Journal reported a man said that the pilot was his son, Landon Nield, 31, who worked for Sundance Helicopters for several years and was married in June.

The National Transportation Safety Board Thursday morning launched a 12-person team to review the crash, Mark Rosekind, an NTSB member and its spokesman at the scene, told reporters. Though the team arrived around 10 a.m., the NTSB only had limited information on the exact details of the crash Thursday evening.  

“The site is very difficult to access,” Rosekind said. “It has taken four-by-fours and helicopters [to get there]. It’s going to be very difficult, and there will be very limited access to the site. It will make it harder."

“Very little factual information is known at this time,” Rosekind added, though he noted Sunshine Helicopters’ previous safety record.

“This operator has some history,” Rosekind said.

In 2003, the NTSB investigated another Sunshine Helicopters crash that killed the pilot and all six passengers while flying through Descent Canyon. In its report, the NTSB provided statements from previous passengers complaining about the pilot’s alleged unsafe maneuvers. The report claimed that Sunshine Helicopters never enforced a one-week suspension without pay to the pilot, allowing him to continue flying.

Rosekind said the investigators would stay at the crash scene for three to five days, and he expected the NTSB would issue a report in about 10 days.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Thursday praised the efforts of the rescue team and sent condolences to the victims’ families. He also promised diligence and partnership with the NTSB throughout the investigation to assure the safety of future helicopter tours throughout Nevada.

“My thoughts this morning are with the families of the five people who died in a terrible crash yesterday,” Reid said in a statement published on his website. "Hundreds of thousands of tourists enjoy these popular helicopter tours of Nevada each year, and I’m saddened that people lost their lives in this rare tragedy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec232010

Female Body Found Near Lake Mead, Hoover Dam

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Authorities at Lake Mead say that tourists discovered the body of a woman Thursday morning just northeast of the Hoover Dam on the Arizona side of the lake, ABC affiliate KTNV reports.

The tourists that discovered the body say the woman appears to have been burned.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Mohave County Sheriff's Office and park rangers are investigating, according to KTNV.  Officials have also said the body will be brought to Las Vegas for an autopsy.

No identity has been determined, but investigators speculate the body might be that of missing Las Vegas dancer, Debbie Flores Narvaez.

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ABC News Radio