Chris Cline death: Report shows billionaire's helicopter crashed just 1 minute after takeoff in Bahamas
The helicopter carrying billionaire Chris Cline and six others was in the air for just one minute before it spun out of control and crashed, according to a new report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The preliminary report, released Wednesday, is part of the agency's ongoing investigation into the crash, which killed Cline, his daughter Kameron and five other passengers on July 4.
Cline, the 60-year-old coal tycoon, was leaving his private island in the Bahamas when the accident occurred. The 17-seat helicopter left the island shortly before 2 a.m. in the morning, headed for the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
According to the report, the helicopter arrived at Big Grand Cay, Cline's island, between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m. The aircraft then remained with its engines running while the passengers boarded.
The NTSB stated that the purpose for the early morning flight was to transport two passengers to Fort Lauderdale for medical treatment. The report did not say who needed the medical treatment, however Florida's WPBF News had previously reported that it may have been Cline's daughter Kameron.
One witness stated in the report he had seen the helicopter take off to an altitude of about 40 to 50 feet before it began spinning and descending toward the water. He then heard a repeating "whoosh" sound, followed by the sound of the crash itself.
That witness then took out his boat and began searching for the wreckage, but he was unable to find the crash site.
The helicopter was finally found by local residents the following afternoon, sometime between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. It was submerged in about 16 feet of water, according to the report.
The exact cause of the crash is still not yet determined. The NTSB has previously said that the investigation could take as long as two years to complete.