GRIEVING parents say the brothers killed in the Grand Canyon helicopter disaster “had an incredible bond”.

Jason Hill, 31, and Stuart, 30, from Worthing, died when the sightseeing helicopter carrying them and their girlfriends came down in the Nevada desert early on Saturday.

Stuart’s girlfriend, Becky Dobson, 27, a former Worthing High School pupil, also lost her life in the crash, which left Jason’s partner, Jennifer Barham, 39, and two newly-wed friends in a critical condition in hospital.

The group had saved up for a year for the “holiday of a lifetime” in Las Vegas to mark Stuart’s 30th birthday, as well as the honeymoon of Ellie Milward, 29, and Jonathan Udall, 32.

In a statement released yesterday, parents Reverend David and Sandra Hill said it was “typical of them that they wanted to be together to celebrate”.

They said: “Jason and Stuart had an incredible bond with each other right from when they were young children. We always said they were so close they were like twins and we will find some support in knowing they were with each other to the last.

“We will thank God every day for having them in our lives.”

Rev Hill told The Argus at the family home in King Edward Avenue on Monday that he felt as if “our entire family has been wiped out”.

Yesterday it emerged relatives may have to wait 18 months to find out why the aircraft, which belonged to tour company Papillon Airways, fell to earth and exploded at about 5.20pm local time (12.20am GMT).

High winds of up to 50mph are thought to have been a factor in the accident – which is the fourth fatal crash involving a Papillon helicopter in under 20 years.

Jason was on the brink of becoming a partner at law firm Shoosmiths while younger brother Stuart was working as a salesman at Mercedes Benz car dealership Lookers in Portslade.

Their parents said: “Jason and Stuart were wonderful sons, inseparable brothers and just remarkable people who were truly loved and will be deeply missed by so many, many people.

“We have a large extended family and Jason and Stuart were always at the heart of it, organising get-togethers and always with time for others.

“If ever either of us came home after a difficult day, Jason or Stuart would be there with a smile or a hug, and that was all we needed to lift our spirits again.

“We always did things as a family and as parents we feel blessed to have had them in our lives.

“Our sons were happy, outgoing people who loved cycling, walking and spending time with family and friends.

“They were both doing well in their careers and had saved up for a year to mark Stuart’s 30th birthday with a real holiday of a lifetime with their friends.

“Our hearts go out to Becky’s family at this terrible time and we are praying for the recovery of Jen, Jonathan and Ellie.

Becky, who was a receptionist at Vets4Pets in the Red Square Retail Park, Worthing, went to Worthing High School before studying fine art and health and social care at Worthing College in 2009.

The brothers also studied at the Sanditon Way facility, with Stuart taking A-levels in psychology, photography and media studies in 2006 and Jason studying English literature, government and politics, and law between 2002 and 2004.

Principal Paul Riley said: “The whole school community will be absolutely devastated to hear that three of our alumni have died under tragic circumstances.”

Worthing High headteacher Pan Panayiotou said: “When anyone loses a life at such a young age, it’s hard on the school community.

“Our thoughts are with those killed and our sincerest sympathies go out to their families.”

Mayor of Worthing Alex Harman called the deaths “a tragic loss”.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to has had links to one of the families affected,” he said.

“We’ve got a very strong sense of community here, and you would obviously never wish this kind of thing on anybody.

“Three lives have been tragically cut short, and the lives of the injured will never be the same again.

“I’d like to express my sincerest condolences to the families of those that have died and send my thoughts to those still in hospital.”

Tributes poured in on social media, with Adur and Worthing councillor Edward Crouch, who went to college with Jason, describing him as “witty, intelligent and a great friend”.

Kim Burford took to Facebook to pay tribute to Becky, saying: “You would light up any room you entered – even an old stable yard barn.

“The only comfort I can take from this absolute tragedy is that you lived more in your 27 years than most people would in 90.

“There are hearts breaking all across the world right now.”