Daughter of United Way board member among victims of helicopter crash

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UPDATE 1:30 p.m. July 7 — The United Way of Southern West Virginia issued a release on social media Sunday, July 7 regarding the helicopter crash which took the lives of seven people, including Chris Cline and his daughter Kameron. Among those who were on the helicopter was the daughter of United Way board member Paula Wykle.

The release included the names of the other victims of the tragic crash. Those include Delaney Wykle, Jillian Clark, Brittany Searson, David Jude and Geoffrey Painter.


UPDATE 6 p.m. July 5:

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The Cline Family released a statement regarding the tragic death of Chris and his daughter.

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. 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. Their legacy of love and inspiration will live on through all of us. We love and miss them dearly but take comfort knowing they are with God now. We ask for prayers and privacy in our time of grieving.

Provided by Brian Glasser, attorney for Chris Cline 

UPDATE July 5: Investigators in the Bahamas are trying to figure out what caused a deadly helicopter crash off the island’s coast. In that crash was West Virginia coal tycoon and philanthropist Chris Cline and his daughter Kameron Cline.

Cline, who is from Beckley, died just one day before his 61st birthday.

The helicopter went down the morning of July 4, shortly after takeoff in the Atlantic Ocean near Walker’s Cay. It was headed for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Officials said the crash wasn’t reported until 12 hours after the helicopter went missing.

Cline was a well known philanthropist in West Virginia. He joined the family coal business at a young age and later created The Cline Group, which operated some of the most productive underground coal mines in the U.S.

Cline has donated millions of dollars to West Virginia University and Marshall University, where he went to school. He has also donated millions of dollars to organizations and charities throughout Southern West Virginia.

Officials said 4 women and 3 men were on the helicopter when it crashed. All of their names have not been released at this time.


ORIGINAL STORY: July 4, 2019

West Virginia coal tycoon and philanthropist, Chris Cline, passed away in a helicopter accident on Thursday, July 4.

Police in the Bahamas said a helicopter flying from Big Grand Cay island to Fort Lauderdale crashed, 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.

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

59News is still working to confirm additional details as they become available.

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