A helicopter crash off Grand Cay Island in the Bahamas has left seven people dead, including US billionaire coal baron Chris Cline, AFP has reported on Friday July 5th.
The craft went down early on Thursday July 4th in the country's north, the Nassau Guardian newspaper reported the minister of tourism and aviation as saying.
"We've located the helicopter. It seems as if the seven passengers are still onboard so therefore submerged, but we can't confirm anything yet," said Dionisio D'Aguilar.
"I guess it crashed shortly after the takeoff", he said, adding authorities are trying to get "to the helicopter and retrieve any souls... and start the investigation."
D'Aguilar said the pilot did not ask permission before leaving, but he did not provide a cause of the crash.
According to West Virginia newspaper, The Register-Herald, Chris Cline’s friends said the helicopter was travelling from the Bahamas to Florida when it crashed. The newspaper described Cline as a “billionaire mining entrepreneur,” “coal tycoon” and “benefactor to southern West Virginia.”
"Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend," the governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, wrote on Twitter, confirming Chris Cline's death.
The coal magnate "built an empire and on every occasion was always there to give. What a wonderful, loving, and giving man," Justice said.
Cline was a supporter of President Donald Trump, and he donated $1 million to Trump’s 2017 inauguration fund, according to the New York Times.
Justice added he could not yet officially identify anyone else who died in the crash