Coal magnate Chris Cline and his daughter Kameron Cline were among seven people killed on Thursday when the helicopter in which they were flying crashed into the sea near the Bahamas.
Bodies of billionaire philanthropist Chris Cline, 60, his college graduate daughter and five others are brought to shore after deadly helicopter crash off the coast of the Bahamas
via https://t.co/pzxAVWOVWn https://t.co/aDibshPxPt
— 💐 (@riversshx) July 5, 2019
The coal mining tycoon was reportedly flying by helicopter on July 4 — a day before his 61st birthday — from Big Grand Cay in the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. He was flying with his daughter Kameron, and friends, after Kameron reportedly suffered a medical emergency. The chopper crashed into the water around 2 a.m., shortly after taking off from Big Grand Cay.
The helicopter pilot was reportedly Geoff Painter, who co-owned Cloud 9 Aviation with David Jude. Jude was also reportedly on board the helicopter.
Flying with Kameron, 22, were her best friends Delaney Wykle, Brittney Searson, and Jillian Clarke, who were all about the same age as Kameron (21-22 years old).
Kameron and Brittney had been best friends since childhood. They attended Palm Beach County’s The Benjamin School and recently graduated from Louisiana State University. Jill Clarke was reportedly a volleyball player at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, while Delaney Wykle studied at West Virginia University.
A day after the tragic incident, the nature of Kameron’s medical emergency which prompted the flight remains unclear. What caused the helicopter, a 17-seater Augusta Westerland AW-1339, to crash into the water is being investigated. But photographs taken by divers from the Bahamas Police Marine Unit and Support Team show the wreckage of the chopper lying on the seafloor.
The wreckage was reportedly found in the sea about two miles from the billionaire’s Big Grand Cay private islands, near Walker’s Cay, North Abaco, Bahamas.
How much was Chris Cline worth in 2019?
West Virginia native Chris Cline made his millions in coal mining. Forbes estimated his net worth in 2019 at $1.8 billion.
He went into coal mining at age 15 and became a contract miner in Southern West Virginia. He had multiple coal mining operations in the Illinois Basin and Appalachian Region.
He founded the coal mining company Foresight Energy, which went public in 2014. He sold a controlling stake in the company for $1.4 billion cash in 2015, according to Forbes.
Mining billionaire Chris Cline is the owner of the @BenettiYachts Mine Games (built as Bistango). Cline has a net worth of US$ 2 billion. He also owns three @embraer private jets and an amazing ocean front mansion in Palm Beach https://t.co/WKTOOAY5wt pic.twitter.com/lPWYTOLatc
— SuperYachtFan (@Superyachtfan) December 13, 2017
He owned a mansion in North Palm Beach with 33,413 square feet of living space and a home in Beckley, West Virginia. He also owned a ranch in Wyoming.
He donated generously to President Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He also donated to other conservative candidates and groups. According to AP, federal records show that in 2017, he gave President Trump’s inaugural committee $1 million.
He donated about $8.5 million to Marshall University.
His first wife Sabrina died in 1987 after battling breast cancer. He married his second wife Kelly in 1993, but they divorced in 2000. He reportedly started dating Tiger Wood’s ex-wife Elin Nordegren in 2013.
Besides Kameron, he had three other children, Candice Cline Kenan, who is married, and two sons, Alex and Christopher.