A billionaire West Virginia coal tycoon was among seven Americans killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of the Bahamas on Thursday evening, according to local officials and reports.
Chris Cline, 61, a former coal miner who turned his Foresight Energy company into a billion-dollar operation in 2015, was killed in the crash at about 5 p.m. local time, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Cline was also a noted philanthropist in his native West Virginia. The state’s governor, Jim Justice, mourned Cline in a statement on Thursday evening.
“Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend,” Justice wrote on Twitter. “Our families go back to the beginning of the Cline empire – Pioneer Fuel. Chris Cline built an empire and on every occasion was always there to give. What a wonderful, loving, and giving man.”
Bahamian officials told The Post the helicopter went down off the coast of Big Cay, killing seven people. The helicopter was en route to Fort Lauderdale, the official said.
It was not immediately clear who else was on board, and the cause of the crash is under investigation.
Author: Ben Feuerherd