Tributes paid to air crash coal tycoon Chris Cline

Chris Cline (right) ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: June 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Chris Cline (right) was a major Republican donor

Tributes have been paid to America’s “King of Coal”, Chris Cline, who died in a helicopter crash in the Bahamas.

President Donald Trump described Mr Cline, a major Republican donor, as a “great businessman and energy expert”.

Jim Justice, the governor of West Virginia where Mr Cline was born, described the 60-year-old tycoon as a “WV superstar” and a “wonderful” man.

The billionaire, his daughter Kameron, 22, three other women and two men died in the crash on Thursday.

The helicopter had been en route from Big Grand Cay, the Bahamas, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Its wreckage was found on the ocean floor. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Who was Chris Cline?

Mr Cline began working in the mines of West Virginia in his early twenties.

In 1990, he set up his energy development company, the Cline Group, overseeing its rise as one of America’s top coal producers.

In 2006, Mr Cline formed Foresight Energy to manage coal rights in the Illinois Basin. He later sold most of his shares in the firm for $1.4bn (£1.1bn).

The billionaire was a major supporter of the Republican Party. He gave $1m to Mr Trump’s inauguration committee in 2017.

He also donated generously to West Virginia’s Marshall University, where he studied.


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