The helicopter carryingbillionaire coal tycoon Chris Cline, his daughter Kameron, and five others in the Bahamas was only up in the air for a minute before it spiraled out of control and crashed on the Fourth of July, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, who on Wednesday releaseda preliminary report in the ongoing investigation into the deadly crash.
Cline, 60, and his 22-year-old daughter, Kameron, were flying in the early hours of the morning from Clines private island Big Grand Cay to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the time of the deadly crash.
The purpose of the accident flight was to transport two of the passengers to FLL for medical treatment, authorities said, without naming who had fallen ill (local reportshave said Kameron had been experiencing an unspecified medical emergency).
RELATED: Billionaire Chris Cline, Elin Nordegrens Ex, Among 7 Dead in Bahamas Helicopter Crash: Disbelief and Shock
Both got on board a 17-seat August AW139 aircraft, which had arrived from Palm Beach International Airport between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m. local time, the NTSB said. The chopper remained on the landing pad with the engines running while the passengers boarded.
One witness observed the helicopter take off and depart soon after, the NTSB reported. The witness said it climbed to about 30 to 40 feet and accelerated while in a nose-down attitude, a pattern he noted was not unusual.
Another witness, however, told authorities the rotorcraft had climbed between 40 and 50 feet before it spun out of control three or four times and plummeted into the ocean some 1.2 miles away.
That witness also reported hearing a whoosh whoosh whoosh sound before the helicopter crashed, the NSTB said. He suspected a crash and went out on his boat at around 2:05 a.m. to try to find the chopper, using spotlights to inspect the area, but was unable to locate it.
RELATED: The Investigation Into Billionaire Chris Clines Helicopter Crash Is Just Beginning Finding the Cause Could Take Months
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert notice for the overdue flight at about 3:21 p.m. the next day, after family members alerted authorities of the missing helicopter, according to the NTSBs report.
It was found by local residents sometime between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in about 16 feet of water, the NTSB said. The aircraft was upside down with all five main rotor blades separated. Authorities are still examining the recovered wreckage.
A cause of the crash has not yet been determined, the NTSB said. Investigators have previously saidit could take months before they make a determination.
RELATED: Billionaire Chris Cline & Daughter Kameron Remembered at Service a Week After Helicopter Crash
News reportsidentified the other five killedas David Jude and Geoffrey Painter,
They were very good students, cheerful and lit up the room when they were in there, social studies teacher Steven Anderson. It was a privilege to teach them. They made teaching rewarding.
Searsons family also released a statement to PEOPLE after her death.
Our hearts are shattered at the loss of our beautiful daughter Brittney Layne Searson. Brittney was an amazing girl full of life, love, and adventure. She was smart, courageous, beautiful inside and out, and a born leader, they said.
Their statement continued: Our family grieves deeply with all other victims of this tragedy and asks for your prayers and privacy as we lay our beloved daughter to rest.
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