NTSB report: Pilot not confident in state of Cline craft | News

Lower than an hour earlier than 22-year-old Beckley resident Delaney Wykle volunteered to board billionaire Chris Cline’s helicopter at his personal island within the Bahamas to assist two sick passengers, the helicopter pilot informed his co-pilot that the Agusta AW139 had been within the store.

“What’s mistaken with it?” co-pilot Geoff Painter requested.

“The whole lot,” pilot David Jude, a former Wyoming County resident and longtime affiliate of Cline’s, replied.

The haunting dialog was captured on a cockpit recording and launched Aug. 17 by the Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) in a 550-page doc that investigates the July 4, 2019, crash that claimed the lives of Cline, Delaney, Jude, 52, Painter, 52, Cline’s daughter Kameron, 22, Brittney Searson, 22, and Jillian Clark, 22.

The seven have been killed round 2 miles from the island, inside a minute of the craft lifting off a concrete pad.

The doc doesn’t set up an official conclusion on the reason for the crash. Investigators are nonetheless reviewing the paperwork and can use them to achieve a closing conclusion, which officers mentioned might take months.

However for the dad and mom of these aboard the helicopter on July 4, 2019, the paperwork present a detailed have a look at the closing moments of their daughters’ lives and raises questions on why it occurred.

Delaney is the daughter of Paul and Paula Wykle of Beckley.

Attorneys for the Wykle and Clark households are reviewing the report.

“Based mostly on what I learn, mechanical points are a priority,” Paul Sterbcow, who together with lawyer Richard Trahant represents the Clarks and Wykles, informed the New Orleans Advocate. “And I can say the pilot’s remark on the finish leads me to consider not less than he thought they have been having an issue with their tail rotor system.”

Clark’s dad and mom, Jeff and Eileen Clark, mentioned Friday they have been exasperated that — barring legislative reform — the Demise on the Excessive Seas Act might tremendously restrict damages from any litigation within the case, the New Orleans paper reported.

The 1920 act typically prohibits survivors of individuals killed at sea from recovering a lot compensation past funeral prices.

“That is such an antiquated regulation,” Jeff Clark mentioned. “It’s a disgrace we’re actually having to even struggle this battle.”

Delaney, 22, was a longtime good friend of Cline’s daughter, Kameron. Kameron had grown up in Beckley and West Palm Seashore, Fla., the place Cline, a billionaire coal tycoon and beloved philanthropist in Raleigh County, maintained a house.

Cline saved deep roots and robust bonds in West Virginia, the place he donated to schools, sports activities organizations and different causes. He was to show 61 years previous on July 5, and he had invited mates, some from the Mountain State, to have a good time on his personal island.

Kameron and Delaney together with Kameron’s sorority sisters from Phi Mu have been celebrating their faculty graduations. 

Kameron, Jillian and Brittney had graduated from Louisiana State College.

Kameron was described as a “loyal good friend, compassionate, joyful and good.” She had earned her diploma in enterprise administration and finance.

Delaney was from Beckley. She had cheered at Park Center Faculty and attended Woodrow Wilson Excessive Faculty. A latest graduate of West Virginia College, she had handed her nursing board examinations a day earlier to develop into a registered nurse.

She had a job ready for her at Raleigh Common Hospital’s emergency division. She additionally had a severe boyfriend, Tristan Cornett. 

The Bahamas journey was to be a women’ journey, Wykle household good friend Tammy Cline (no relation to Chris Cline) informed media, a memorable time for the younger ladies earlier than they began jobs and graduate faculty.

On July 3, on the island, Delaney was nonetheless feeling glad about passing her board exams.


Cline and his inside designer had arrived on the island aboard an organization, float-equipped Cessna 208 on July 2 to arrange for the occasion, paperwork present. The identical plane introduced Cline’s son and his mates to the island on July Three and took the designer again to Florida.

Round 2 p.m. on July 3, Jude flew the younger ladies and mates of Cline’s sons within the accident helicopter from Palm Seashore Worldwide airport in West Palm Seashore to the island. Tiffany Jezek, an ER nurse and Cline’s good friend, was on board, together with a good friend of Jezek.

The 40-minute flight was uneventful. On the island, the occasion was taking place. 

“The seaside was arrange for celebration,” NTSB reported. “Folks have been taking part in chess, using Sea-Do’s and taking part in music.”

On the occasion, Jezek mentioned, she chatted with Delaney. Delaney informed Jezek that she had simply handed her nursing boards. 

Jezek additionally chatted with Kameron, who appeared wholesome, and with Clark, Kameron’s sorority sister at LSU. Neither woman was ingesting, Jezek mentioned.

Round 10 a.m., Delaney, who Jezek reported was “very alert,” got here to inform Jezek that Clark was sick. 

Delaney, Jezek and a doctor went to take care of Clark. The woman was drowsy and vomiting, and the three rolled her to her facet. These on the occasion informed Jezek she had not taken medication. Jezek famous that Clark didn’t have an “overwhelming odor of alcohol” on her.

Shane Lerner, Clark’s boyfriend, reported that Clark had known as him round 10:30 p.m. She had been ingesting however didn’t appear unwell, Lerner mentioned within the report. Her well being was “phenomenal.” He mentioned Clark, who had plans to attend medical faculty, had good well being. She’d had solely a abdomen bug on the day earlier than the journey.

Lerner mentioned no matter had made Clark sick on July Three will need to have occurred instantly.

Whereas the three tended to Clark, Jezek mentioned, Kameron grew to become instantly unwell. She was drowsy and vomiting however didn’t have slurred speech and didn’t seem to have as extreme signs as Clark, Jezek mentioned.

“At that time, Mr. Cline grew to become involved and needed to get the two younger adults to the US for medical therapy,” the paperwork report. 

Jezek had vomit on her garments, so she went again to her bungalow to vary. She didn’t make a analysis or know why the ladies grew to become unwell, she informed authorities.

Robert Hogan, a longtime Cline worker and good friend who lived close to the concrete pad, mentioned Cline informed him round 11 p.m. that the pilot, Jude, was on his strategy to Massive Grand Cay to get the younger ladies. Hogan mentioned that they had heartbeats however that they have been groggy and unresponsive. When Cline requested Hogan about going again to the U.S. for medical care, Hogan informed him it was finest to err on the facet of security, he mentioned.

Jezek mentioned Cline had not thought-about a more in-depth hospital within the Bahamas however added Cline had needed “to do the proper factor” by returning to Florida.

Jude and his co-pilot, Painter, have been to fly out from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Worldwide Airport (KFFA) in Cline’s Augusta AW139, which had introduced Kameron and her mates to the island earlier that day.

The paperwork present that Jude had reservations in regards to the craft. 

“I haven’t flown this factor in over a month, earlier than right this moment,” Jude informed Painter on the flight to the island to get the passengers, in line with a transcript of the dialog captured by the cockpit recorder. “It’s been within the **** store.”

“Has it?” Painter requested, after cursing. “What’s been mistaken with it?”

“Each***factor,” Jude responded.

At 11:31 p.m., Jude known as and informed Hogan he wanted lights on the concrete touchdown pad on the island. Hogan arrange two golf carts with flood lights.

The pad was not permitted by the Bahamas Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA), however Jude used it steadily, in line with Hogan.

“He reported that Jude had flown into the identical pad a whole lot of occasions,” NTSB officers mentioned.

Jude landed a while between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m. on July 4, 2019, with co-pilot Painter aboard. Hogan mentioned Jude smiled and waved at him.

Jezek arrived in a golf cart after cleansing up, too late to board the flight. She watched others board. 

She mentioned Delaney volunteered to go on the flight along with her mates as a result of she was a nurse and will present medical care.

Hogan informed investigators that Chris Cline, Delaney and Searson walked onboard, whereas Kameron and Clark, who had been dropped at the pad by way of golf cart, have been carried onboard. All have been secured correctly, he mentioned, and medical care had been organized at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Worldwide Airport, the place Jude deliberate to land the helicopter. 

KFLL had been chosen due to its shut location and U.S. customs being open, mentioned Hogan. He informed investigators he couldn’t recall if he had smelled alcohol on Kameron and Clark.

Cline left the helicopter briefly to get his pet, then returned to his seat within the final row on the proper, behind the pilot, mentioned Hogan.

Hogan was not sure if Cline was buckled in.

“(Hogan) hugged Mr. Cline and informed him that he liked them and that they’d be” on the bottom in Florida in 30-40 minutes, the report states.

Jezek left the pad earlier than the craft departed. She didn’t witness the crash.

Throughout the evening of the crash, one other lady on the occasion would report to Jezek that she was unwell in her room, Jezek mentioned.

Jezek mentioned pepperoni pizza and salad had been served on the occasion.


Instantly upon take-off, warning sounds crammed the cockpit, cockpit recording transcripts present.

“There was a deadly accident within the U.Ok., and that is precisely what occurred there,” Painter, who’s from Nice Britain, informed Jude.

Across the identical time Painter had spoken, the helicopter lights began spinning and vanished, in line with witnesses.

Hogan watched because the craft turned west, climbed Three to Four tales and nosedived, lower than one minute after take-off. He notified the U.S. Coast Guard round 2 a.m. and obtained Cline’s medical data from Cline’s son.

The recording didn’t establish which accident Painter meant. Nonetheless, the New Orleans Advocate reported that 9 months previous to the Cline crash, an Agusta helicopter leaving from knowledgeable English soccer group’s stadium began spinning shortly after takeoff and crashed, killing the membership’s proprietor and 4 others on board.

Investigators in that case blamed issues within the hyperlink between the helicopter’s tail rotor and the pilot’s controls, the newspaper reported.

A witness to the Cline wreckage mentioned that the wheels on the helicopter have been nonetheless prolonged, indicating that Jude had not retracted the gear whereas in transitional elevate.

A fellow pilot informed the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that Jude and Painter, whom he had flown with numerous occasions, have been “skilled.”

He informed the FAA there had been no moon on the evening of the crash and that the shortage of floor reference lights have been issues to him within the crash. Two different witnesses additionally talked about lighting circumstances, beneath questioning by investigators.

The helicopter crashed into Bahama waters about 180 levels from the conventional flight path to KFLL, NTSB officers mentioned. A lady on Grand Cay later mentioned that the helicopter had “gone that strategy to keep away from waking up neighbors,” whereas Hogan mentioned totally different paths have been used, relying on the wind instructions and whether or not there have been any close by storms.

Jezek informed investigators that she didn’t recall excessive winds on the two-mile-long island in the course of the time of the flight.

Jeremy Curry, who witnessed the crash, discovered the helicopter round Four or 5 p.m. on July 4, 2019, following an preliminary, unsuccessful search he and one other man had launched.

The victims’ our bodies have been taken from the helicopter about 12 hours after the accident and brought to Nassau, Bahamas.

In Beckley on July 4, 2019, amid Independence Day celebrations, the information of the crash introduced speedy grief. 

In September, Paula Wykle’s mountaineering group, the Blissful Hikers, established a butterfly memorial backyard on the Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports activities Advanced in honor of Delaney. 

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