The last victim to be identified from the Agusta AW139 helicopter that crashed into the Bahamian Sea killing billionaire Chris Cline and six other passengers, was the person who flew the craft, British pilot Geoffrey Lee Painter, 52.
The helicopter was on its way for immediate hospital treatment for Cline’s daughter Kameron in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last Thursday.
The helicopter had departed from Big Grand Cay at 2 a.m. and was reported missing after it did not arrive at its intended destination for more than 12 hours.
SFGate reported the Bahamas Air Accident Investigation Department has cleared the flight recorders and transported them to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington.
According to NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss, the wreckage is at a safe site somewhere in the United States and the investigation is ongoing. It may take up to two weeks before the preliminary results will be released and another two years before the whole investigative process will be finished, according to the outlet.
Painter, who received his training at the R.A.F. in the 1980s, according to the Daily Mail, ran Cloud 9 Aviation, a Palm Beach-based helicopter service, together with David Jude, a personal friend of Cline’s, who was also on the aircraft and died.
Cline, who would have turned 61 on Friday, July 5, intended to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends on his private island in the Bahamas.
But suddenly, according to the New York Post, Kameron, Cline’s 22-year-old-daughter, suffered an “unspecified medical issue,” whereupon her father broke off festivities in the middle of the night, and rushed his daughter and six other people by helicopter to a Fort Lauderdale hospital on Florida’s mainland, some 135 miles away.
Shortly after take-off, two miles off the coast, the aircraft plunged into the Bahamian Sea at about 2 a.m., leaving all seven passengers dead, and was found the next day upside down on the ocean floor.
Mysteriously, according to the Post, local man McGarrett Russell, whose son had dived for the wreck and witnessed the scene, said the victims were still strapped to their seats while Painter’s hands were still on the controls.
Moreover, all the bodies were still intact. Nobody seemed to have made an effort to escape from their seats or tried to make their way out of the helicopter just before or after the crash.
Weather conditions were fine at the time time of the crash, so that couldn’t have accounted for the crash.
Kameron Cline had recently graduated from Louisiana State University.
Billionaire Chris Cline’s daughter and her three college graduate best friends who all died with the coal tycoon and two other men in Bahamas helicopter crash. The cause of the crash remains unclear and i.
The bodies arrived on shore in a police boat on Thursday night pic.twitter.com/bTtWQWRJgi
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) July 5, 2019
Other victims were named as Brittney Searson, Delaney Wykle, and Jillian Clark.
Searson was a close friend of Kameron Cline’s who attended the same university, reported the Palm Beach Post.
Profiles for Delaney Wykle on Facebook and Twitter said that she was a student at West Virginia University.
The third friend of Kameron who died was Jillian Clark, another recent graduate of Louisiana State University.