A helicopter carrying seven Americans to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., crashed Thursday off Grand Cay island in the Bahamas, killing everyone on aboard, Bahamian police said.
A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the helicopter went missing shortly after leaving Big Grand Cay and authorities and local residents later found the crash site about three kilometres off Grand Cay. Police identified those killed as four women and three men but did not provide names.
The Register-Herald newspaper in Beckley, W. Va., quoted Gov. Jim Justice as saying that one of the people killed in the crash was Chris Cline, whom the newspaper described as a “billionaire mining entrepreneur,” “coal tycoon” and “benefactor to southern West Virginia.”
“West Virginia lost a super star, without any question,” the newspaper quoted Justice as saying. “A giving, good man. I just love him with all my soul. … As governor, I will tell you we’ve lost a great West Virginian.”
Cline’s company also owns Kameron Collieries, the company behind a coal mine in Donkin, N.S.
Justice told the newspaper he could not yet officially identify anyone else who died in the crash.
Justice’s spokesperson, Jordan Damron, did not return an email or phone call asking for comment Thursday night to confirm his statements.
Bahamian police did not provide a cause of the crash but said an investigation with civil aviation authorities was underway.