West Virginia coal billionaire and philanthropist Chris Cline died in a helicopter crash near the Bahamas on Thursday. He was 60.
He started working as an underground miner in West Virginia in 1980 at age 22, and a decade later founded his energy development company. Foresight Energy generated coal sales revenues of $1.097 billion last fiscal year. Police said a helicopter took off from Big Grand Cay around 2 a.m. Thursday and was reported missing around 2:50 p.m. when it didn't arrive in Fort Lauderdale. Seven people including Chris are dead, the Royal Bahamas Police Force said in a statement Friday. In fact the aircraft overturned in 16 feet of water about two miles off Grand Cay in the Abacos. Evan Jenkins, a justice at the West Virginia Supreme Court, said the state has lost a philanthropist who donated to several programs. Cline’s daughter also may have been one of the seven passengers who died in the crash.
Police recovered the bodies of four females and three males. “Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice tweeted.The Department of Civil Aviation, the Royal Bahamas Police and the Defense Force are investigating.