Billionaire Chris Cline was strapped to his seat, pilot was still holding the controls, say witnesses as bodies are pulled from wreckage

Chris Cline and his daughter Kameron lost their lives in a helicopter crash that went down into the water off the Bahamas on Thursday.


                            Billionaire Chris Cline was strapped to his seat, pilot was still holding the controls, say witnesses as bodies are pulled from wreckage

West Virginia coal tycoon Chris Cline was rushing his daughter to a hospital in Florida when the helicopter they were traveling in went down into the waters off the Bahamas. It was reported that all seven on board were killed in the accident on Thursday.

Kameron Cline, Chris' 22-year-old daughter was with her father at his birthday party at their private island near Grand Cay, on Wednesday night.  

This undated photo provided by Eric Andries shows Brittney Layne Searson. One of the victims of the helicopter crash on Thursday, July 4, 2018 that killed West Virginia coal magnate Chris Cline has been identified as Brittney Layne Searson. The 21-year-old Searson was a friend of Cline's daughter, Kameron, who also died in the crash off Grand Cay Island. All seven people aboard the Augusta AW139 helicopter were killed when it crashed Thursday en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday. (Eric Andries via AP)

Mathien and his brother-in-law then went in search of them at 2.30 am, but they found nothing. He said, "So we called back to the island and they said, ‘No, no, no. The chopper is back in the States.’ So, I said OK, fine.”

However, on Thursday afternoon at 2 pm, according to the police, Cline’s aircraft — which had been en route from Big Grand Cay island to Fort Lauderdale, Florida — was reported missing. Mathien was with the search party when the wreck was discovered. Speaking of this, he said, "Everybody just was in a daze. Man, it was just tears, you know? It was just tears. Mr. Cline actually…was one of the first ones that came out (of the water)."

He then added, "Just then, a kid came out. It was four kids and they were about 19 to 21 years of age, kids in their prime. They had just graduated from college and came home to have fun and then boom; here today and gone tomorrow.” 

In this handout photo released by the Bahamas ZNS Network, employees oversee the arrival of the bodies of four women and three men, including billionaire coal entrepreneur Chris Cline and his daughter, at the airport in Nassau, Bahamas, Friday, July 5, 2019. The attorney’s office representing the West Virginia billionaire confirmed that he was killed in the helicopter crash along with his daughter and five other U.S. citizens. (Bahamas ZNS Network via AP)

McGarrett Russell, whose son was one of the divers who had gone underwater to search for the wreck said that the victims were still strapped to their seats when they were discovered and the pilot he said was still holding the controls of the chopper.

Other than Chris and his daughter Kameron, three of her college friends were also found. Two additional victims were named on Saturday - 52-year-old pilot Geoffrey Lee Painter, of Barnstaple, United Kingdom, and 52-year-old David Jude of Kentucky.

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