Chris Cline's Daughter and Friend Who Died in Helicopter Crash Were 'Inseparable,' Teacher Says
“Both were inseparable, just terrific," said a former teacher of victims Kameron Cline and Brittney Searson
Kameron Cline and Brittney Layne Searson, two of the seven victims of the Bahamas helicopter crash last Thursday, are being remembered fondly by teachers at their former high school.
The girls, who both recently graduated college at Louisiana State University and were in the Bahamas for vacation, were known to be “inseparable” while high school students at The Benjamin School in Florida, social studies teacher Steven Anderson told local outlet CBS 12.
“They were very good students, cheerful and lit up the room when they were in there,” added Anderson of the girls, who graduated together in 2015. “It was a privilege to teach them. They made teaching rewarding.”
Kameron, 22, was the daughter of coal industry billionaire and philanthropist Chris Cline — who also died in the crash — and best friends with Searson, 21. The three perished in the crash with four other victims, including Delaney Lee Wykle, a childhood friend of Kameron.
Anderson also recalled his most fond memory with Kameron and Searson, which came from a school trip to Caribbean nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines during their senior year at the high school.
“They immediately became totally immersed in the unfamiliar culture to which they were exposed in our 2015 class trip,” he recalled. “They were totally open, accepting and engaging with all of the Vincentians who they encountered. They rapidly established themselves as perfect ambassadors who so lovingly and genuinely represented not just The Benjamin School but also the United States in such a positive light to the local people.”
He added, “Kameron, in fact, wanted to help the less-privileged Vincentians continue their education so she persuaded her father to make a generous donation to assist the students from the tiny island of Mayreau to attend secondary school on neighboring Union Island. Knowing the type of giving person that Mr. Chris Cline was, I am sure that it didn’t require too much persuasion to establish this legacy.”
The Benjamin School, which has ordered flags to fly at half-staff on both campuses, released a statement on Twitter about the deaths of their two alumni in the tragic crash.
“It is with the heaviest hearts we share that TBS alumnae Kameron Cline ‘15 and Brittney Searson ‘15 have passed away,” The Benjamin School wrote on Twitter. “The entire Benjamin community grieves alongside the Cline and Searson families along with the other families dealing with this tragedy.”
According to The New York Times, the helicopter carrying the seven passengers smashed into the water shortly after leaving Grand Cay, an island in the Bahamas. The group, who all died in the crash, was headed for Fort Lauderdale.
The Cline family confirmed to PEOPLE that Chris and Kameron were among the victims. Royal Bahamas Police Force identified the remaining victims, all of whom were American citizens with the exception of the pilot, who was from the United Kingdom, according to CNN.
“We are all so deeply saddened … This loss will be felt by all those who had the privilege of having known them,” the Cline family said of the tragic loss.
Searson’s family also released a lengthy statement to PEOPLE after her death was confirmed.
“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,” the statement read.
“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,” they added.