New details have been released concerning the tragic Fourth of July crash of billionaire coal tycoon Chris Cline's helicopter. And the news is startling, to say the least.
In its preliminary report released today, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) is saying that the coal magnate’s helicopter went down after spending only one minute in the air.
Billionaire Chris Cline, 60, who is noted for his success in saving the coal industry, died in a helicopter crash near the Bahamas on Independence Day.
Authorities say the aircraft that was carrying seven people and traveling to Florida, went down in the Atlantic Ocean. There were no survivors.
Cline’s 22-year-old daughter Kameron and several of her friends were among the dead.
“They were flying in the early hours of the morning from Cline’s private island Big Grand Cay to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the time of the deadly crash.”
The 2:00 am departure from the island was due to unusual and completely unexpected circumstances.
“The purpose of the flight was to transport two of the passengers to FLL for medical treatment,” authorities said, without naming who had fallen ill.
“Local reports have said Kameron had been experiencing an unspecified medical emergency.”
News reports identified the other five killed as David Jude and Geoffrey Painter, both with a helicopter company; as well as Jillian Clark, Brittney Searson and Delaney Wykle, Kameron’s friends.
Witnesses who were in the vicinity of the crash have come forward with first-hand accounts of the accident.
“One witness observed the helicopter take off, and depart soon after, the NTSB reported. The witness said it climbed to about 30 to 40 feet and accelerated while in a nose-down attitude, a pattern he noted was not unusual.”
“Another witness, however, told authorities the rotorcraft had climbed between 40 and 50 feet before it spun out of control three or four times and plummeted into the ocean some 1.2 miles away.”
The exact cause off the crash has not yet been determined. The NTSB has said that the results of the investigation may take months to complete.