BAHAMAS – West Virginia coal
billionaire and philanthropist Chris
Cline died in a helicopter crash near the
Bahamas on Thursday, July 4.
“Today we lost a WV superstar and
I lost a very close friend,” Gov. Jim
Justice tweeted. “ ... Chris Cline built
an empire and on every occasion was
always there to give. What a wonderful,
loving and giving man.”
Seven people died, the Royal Bahamas
Police Force said in a statement
Friday. The RBPF did not identify any
of the victims.
Cline owned the Cline Trust Company,
LLC., which is the owner of the
Twin Eagle Ranch in Sublette County.
The ranch includes seven parcels and
exceeds 6,000 acres.
Police said a helicopter took off
from Big Grand Cay around 2 a.m.
local time Thursday and was reported
missing more than 12 hours later
around 2:50 p.m. when it didn't arrive
in Fort Lauderdale, its intended destination.
Police officers and residents of
Grand Cay discovered the aircraft
overturned in 16 feet of water about 2
miles off Grand Cay in the Abacos and
recovered the bodies of four females
and three males, police said.
The Department of Civil Aviation,
the Royal Bahamas Police and the Defense
Force are investigating.
Cline’s daughter, Kameron, was
among those on the aircraft, according
to a family statement.