Before the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of coal billionaire Chris Cline and six others, Cline was rushing his 22-year-old daughter to a hospital, new reports suggest.
Cline, who died one day before his 61st birthday, was onboard an aircraft leaving the Bahamas when it plunged into the sea on July 4, as was his 22-year-old daughter, Kameron Cline, a number of her friends, a pilot, and a mechanic, The New York Times reports.
While the circumstances of the crash remain a mystery for the time being, new details have emerged that may shed some light on why the group departed from the Bahamas at around 2 a.m. that day. An unnamed friend of the Cline family reports that Kameron Cline fell ill without warning, prompting her father to attempt to transport her to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to WPBF, an ABC affiliate station based in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The group had flown to Cline’s private island to celebrate the Fourth of July, but left together when one got sick, the Palm Beach Post previously reported. The helicopter crashed just minutes after taking off from Grand Cay. When the party failed to reach their destination, relatives alerted authorities.
Police report that the partially destroyed helicopter was found in 16 feet of water, according to The Times. Meteorologists have reported that weather was not a factor that led to the fatal crash.
Brian Glasser, attorney for the Cline family, confirmed the father and daughter’s passing in a statement obtained by WPBF.
“We are all so deeply saddened to announce the deaths of our beloved father Chris and our sister Kameron. This loss will be felt by all those who had the privilege of having known them,” a statement issued on behalf of the family reads. “Chris was one of West Virginia’s strongest sons, an American original, full of grit, integrity, intelligence and humor, a testament that our hopes and dreams are achievable when we believe and commit ourselves to action. Our sister, Kameron was a bright light to all who knew her, loving, smart, compassionate and full of joy and enthusiasm for life and other people.”
Prior to his death, Cline was an accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist whose net worth was estimated to be more than $1 billion, according to a Forbes profile. He began working in coal mines at a young age and, thanks to his decades of work in the coal industry, went on to be dubbed by Bloomberg as the “New King Coal” in 2010.
Cline also stood behind numerous Republican candidates during his lifetime, having publicly supported presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 by hosting a reception in his honor and later donating $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Trump reacted to news of Cline’s death in a tweet on Friday.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of great businessman and energy expert Chris Cline, his wonderful daughter, Kameron, and their friends, on the tragic accident which took place in the Bahamas,” he wrote. “The great people of West Virginia will never forget them!”
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