A helicopter carrying seven Americans to Fort Lauderdale, Florida crashed Thursday off Grand Cay island in the Bahamas, killing everyone on aboard, Bahamian police said.
A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the helicopter went missing shortly after leaving Big Grand Cay and authorities and local residents later found the crash site two miles off Grand Cay. Police identified those killed as four women and three men but did not provide names.
The Register-Herald newspaper in Beckley, West Virginia, quoted Gov. Jim Justice as saying that one of the people killed in the crash was Chris Cline, whom the newspaper described as a "billionaire mining entrepreneur," "coal tycoon" and "benefactor to southern West Virginia."
"West Virginia lost a super star, without any question," the newspaper quoted Justice as saying. "A giving, good man. I just love him with all my soul. ... As governor, I will tell you we've lost a great West Virginian."
Cline previously dated Tiger Wood's former wife Elin Nordegren after the couple split in 2010.
Justice told the newspaper he could not yet officially identify anyone else who died in the crash.
Justice's spokesman, Jordan Damron, did not return an email or phone call asking for comment Thursday night to confirm his statements.
The Nassau Guardian reported that the helicopter crashed near Walker's Cay, Abaco, according to Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.
"Initial reports are coming in that a helicopter departed, I think it's a cay near to Walker's Cay, at 2am and I guess shortly after takeoff it crashed," D'Aguilar said.
"We've located the craft. It seems as if the seven passengers are still onboard so therefore submerged, but we can't confirm anything yet.
"They're attempting…to first of all go to the helicopter and retrieve any souls that are onboard and start the investigation."
Bahamian police did not provide a cause of the crash but said an investigation with civil aviation authorities was underway.