West Virginia coal tycoon dies in helicopter crash

West Virginia

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia coal tycoon and philanthropist, Chris Cline, has died in a helicopter crash.

Police in the Bahamas said a helicopter flying from Big Grand Cay island to Fort Lauderdale crashed Thursday, killing seven Americans on board. A close friend of the family told 59News Chris Cline and his daughter were among the seven people.

A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the cause of Thursday’s crash two miles off Grand Cay was under investigation. It said police and civil aviation authorities were probing the crash.

Governor Jim Justice offered his condolences to the Cline family in a tweet Thursday evening saying:

“Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend. Our families go back to the beginning of the Cline empire – Pioneer Fuel. Chris Cline built an empire and on every occasion was always there to give. What a wonderful, loving, and giving man.”

Marshall University President, Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert, also expressed his condolences:

“The entire Marshall community is in disbelief and shock over the sad news of this tragic accident that took the life of a prominent Son of Marshall and so many others. Our hearts are heavy. Chris’s generosity to our research and athletics programs has made a mark on Marshall University and our students for many years to come. I am praying for his family.”

This is a developing story, and we will continue to update it on WOWKTV.com, the WOWK 13 News App, and on 13 News on air.

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