BECKLEY, W.Va. — A prayer vigil will take place Thursday in Raleigh County, honoring the victims of a helicopter crash in the Bahamas.
Seven people died in the July 4 incident. The helicopter was en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
— Chris Cline, 60, a billionaire coal entrepreneur and West Virginia native who had a home in Raleigh County.
— Kameron Cline, 22, Chris Cline’s daughter who recently graduated from Louisiana State University.
— Brittney Searson, 22, from Florida, one of Kameron’s sorority sisters and fellow LSU grads.
— Jillian Clark, 22, from Louisiana, one of Kameron’s sorority sisters and fellow LSU grads.
— Delaney Wykle, 22, of Beckley, a graduate of West Virginia University and childhood friend to Kameron.
— David Jude, 57, a friend to Chris Cline and Kermit, West Virginia native.
— Geoffrey Painter, 52, of Barnstaple in the United Kingdom.
Both Jude and Painter ran Cloud 9 Helicopters.
The vigil is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex, which is named after Chris Cline’s late father.
A remembrance event for Chris and Kameron Cline will take place Friday at the Raleigh County Armory Civic Center in Beckley. The service is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Earlier this week, Brian Glasser — an attorney for Cline — said preliminary evidence pointed to a “catastrophic mechanical failure, probably having to do with the tail” as a possible cause for the crash, which happened in shallow water soon after takeoff from Big Grand Cay island.
The Agusta AW139 had space for 15 passengers and was in the process of being reconstructed at a facility.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation with support from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Air Accident Investigation Department of the Bahamas and other agencies.
Officials are reviewing the helicopter’s flight and data recorders at the National Transportation Safety Board’s office in Washington.