NTSB: Suburban Man Reported ‘Fuel Emergency’ Before Fatal Fla. Plane Crash
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(CBS) – A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on a Florida plane crash that killed a suburban man and his daughter indicates the man reported a “fuel emergency” before crashing into power lines on Saturday.
Jeffrey Bronken, 53, was flying a Piper PA-28-181 to Florida on Saturday, on a spring break trip with his daughter, Katherine, and her friend Keyana Linbo. All three victims were from north suburban Round Lake.
The plane crashed in Clearwater around 4 a.m. local time, as it was heading to St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport. Jeffrey Bronken died in the crash. Katherine and Keyana, both 15, were taken to a local hospital. Katherine died Wednesday afternoon. Keyana remained hospitalized.
The NTSB issued a preliminary report on the crash Thursday morning, stating the plane took off from Nashville at 11 p.m. eastern time Friday night, and Jeffrey Bronken was in radio and radar contact with air traffic controllers as it approached St. Pete/Clearwater.
As the plane was about 6 miles north of the airport, Bronken reported a fuel emergency, and began a “forced landing” on a six-lane highway in Safety Harbor, Fla. The plane struck power lines as it was landing, and crashed nose-down on the highway.
The NTSB said the engine and cockpit area were crushed, and the cabin roof had separated from the plane, indicating the roof might have been sheared off by a power line.
The fuel tank was intact, and had only four ounces of fuel when it was recovered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Bronken was certified to fly a single-engine plane like the Piper involved in the crash, and had logged more than 1,500 hours of flight time as a pilot.