Takeoff over dark water at night caused fatal helicopter crash, reports NTSFB | New
By Jessica Farrish
The decision of the personal pilots of the late billionaire Chris Cline to take off over dark water at night, without having a visual reference to guide their flight path, caused the helicopter crash of July 4, 2019 that killed all aboard – Cline and six others, including her daughter, Kameron, and Delaney Wykle, 22, of Beckley, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSFB) ruled in a report released Thursday.
In its final report, released Thursday, the NTSB found that the pilots – Dave Jude, formerly from Wyoming County, and Geoff Painter from the UK – had no experience flying from the private island of Cline la night.
But when Cline’s daughter and a friend fell ill on the island at Cline’s birthday party, Jude and Painter made an emergency late-night flight from Florida to the island to bring the children back. young women in the United States for medical treatment.
According to the final report, they flew in an emergency in “dark night conditions with no external visual reference” and became disoriented and crashed into the ocean on the return flight.
The NTSB also found that the crew had not adequately monitored their instruments and had failed to respond to several cockpit warnings to stop the helicopter from descending.
“External pressure to complete the flight contributed to the pilots’ decision,” NTSB investigators added. “The lack of experience of the night flight pilots on the island and their inadequate management of crew resources contributed to the accident.
Cline, a native of West Virginia who lived in Palm Beach, Florida, was due to turn 61 on July 5, 2019. He had invited friends, some from the Mountain State, to party on his private island in the Bahamas .
Cline’s 22-year-old daughter, sorority sisters Delaney and Kameron from Phi Mu and Louisiana State University (LSU), Brittany Searson and Jillian Clark, both 22, were on the island for celebrate.
A recent graduate of the University of West Virginia, Delaney had taken her board of nursing exams a day before the accident to become a registered nurse. She was to start a job at Raleigh General Hospital.
According to the NTSB’s preliminary report released in August, Jillian fell ill during the party. A professional nurse and an island doctor, along with Delaney, had been unable to discover the cause of his sudden illness. She had slurred speech, vomiting and drowsiness, witnesses told investigators.
While treating Jillian, Kameron fell ill and started showing similar symptoms, but not as severe, according to the August report.
“At that point, Mr. Cline got worried and wanted to bring the 2 young adults to the United States for medical treatment,” the document read.
Cline asked her longtime partner and pilot Jude at 11:24 p.m. on July 3, 2019 to come to the island. Jude informed Painter, his co-pilot, approximately 20 minutes later, and Jude and Painter flew Cline’s Agusta AW139 from Florida with the intention of returning to Fort Lauderdale.
On the flight to the island, during a taped conversation in the cockpit, Jude told Painter that the craft had recently entered the store.
“What’s wrong with that?” Asked the painter.
“Every # thing,” Jude replied. “I would like us to sell this # thing.”
“I wish we were going to bring ourselves something decent – steal something that we don’t have to go to school every # week.”
“#” in the report denoted a curse.
They landed the helicopter safely at Big Grand Cay at 1:42 a.m. on July 4. Cline, Brittany, Kameron and Jillian boarded, the two patients being carried on the craft.
A nurse who had planned to board had vomit on her clothes, so Delaney offered to provide medical attention during the flight, board the helicopter and allow the nurse to stay to clean up.
The Agusta left the island at 1:52 a.m. with the five passengers and two pilots, according to the NTSB.
“The helipad from which they departed was illuminated by searchlights, but the helicopter then flew over the water in dark night conditions with no visible moon, likely no ambient lighting and no visible horizon, which would require pilots to rely on instruments in order to fly because of the very limited external signals, ”states the most recent report.
The NTSB ruled that the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) started seconds after takeoff. The helicopter descended at approximately 1380 feet per minute seconds after leaving the helipad.
At 1:52:31, Painter said, “Alright, the speed is going up – No, it’s not going up, so push that nose forward. Get speed. “
Jude replied, “I’m going. I ** power. “
“Watch your altitude,” replied Painter, who also told Jude that there had been a fatal accident in the UK and that “that’s exactly what happened”.
In a cockpit recording, a number of warning sounds emitted by EGPWS, NTSB reported.
The machine crashed around 1:53 am
A search team, including employees from Cline and a neighbor who had witnessed the crash and previously attempted to locate the helicopter, located the wreckage at around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. on July 4, 2019.
The bodies of the victims were transported from the helicopter to Nassau, Bahamas, approximately 12 hours after the crash.
In August, investigators did not know the cause of Kameron and Jillian’s illness. The nurse reported that neither of the girls, who were both small, had been drinking during the party when she chatted with them. Pizza and salad had been served at the party.