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West Virginia Coal Billionaire Killed In Bahamas Helicopter Crash

YouTube screenshot/CBS Good Morning

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A billionaire coal industry entrepreneur died Thursday in a helicopter crash off the island of Grand Cay in the Bahamas.

Chris Cline, 61, was one of seven killed when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed two miles off Grand Cay en route to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, according to CBS News.

“Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend,” said Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in a tweet. “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.”

Cline started working in the coal industry at 22. He founded his coal mining company, Foresight Energy, in 2006, a company he eventually merged that with Murray Energy. Prior to that he operated the Cline group, a company he started in 1990, Fox News reported.

Foresight Energy was once worth as much as $2.6 billion.

Cline was also known as a generous philanthropist and GOP donor, giving $1 million to Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund, and $1 million to a Jeb Bush Super PAC.

He also donated $5 million to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, his alma mater.

“Chris’s generosity to our research and athletics programs has made a mark on Marshall University and our students for many years to come,” said Jerry Gilbert, the school’s president, in a statement.

Cline’s daughter, Kamie Conover, was also among those killed along with David Jude, Delaney Wykle, two unidentified friends and an unidentified helicopter pilot, according to the Bahamas Press.

Chris Cline, 61, was one of seven reportedly killed when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed about two miles off Grand Cay en route to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, according to CBS News.

“Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend,” said Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in a tweet. “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.”

Coal billionaire Chris Cline among 7 killed in Bahamas helicopter crash. Photo from Youtube.

Coal billionaire Chris Cline among 7 killed in Bahamas helicopter crash. Photo from Youtube.

Cline started working in the coal industry at 22. He founded his coal mining company, Foresight Energy, in 2006, a company he eventually merged with Murray Energy. Prior to that he operated the Cline Group, a company he started in 1990, Fox News reported.

Foresight Energy was once worth as much as $2.6 billion. (RELATED: Mike Bloomberg Reignited The War On Coal. West Virginia Isn’t Going Down Without A Fight)

Cline was also known as a generous philanthropist and GOP donor, giving $1 million to Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund, and $1 million to a Jeb Bush Super PAC.

He also donated $5 million to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, his alma mater.

“Chris’s generosity to our research and athletics programs has made a mark on Marshall University and our students for many years to come,” said Jerry Gilbert, the school’s president, in a statement.

Cline’s daughter, Kamie Conover, was reported as one of the victims, according to the Bahamas Press.

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