Monday, February 19, 2018
Public safety

Daughter of pilot killed in Safety Harbor plane crash has died

SAFETY HARBOR — The daughter of the pilot who died in a small plane crash early Saturday on McMullen-Booth Road also has died from her injuries, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

Katherine Bronken, 15, died Wednesday afternoon.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, his daughter and her friend Keyana Linbo, 15, were headed to Clearwater from Chicago when the small plane Bronken was piloting crashed Saturday about 4 a.m.

Bronken died at the scene. The accident remains under investigation. Investigators said the plane was bound for St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport but crashed several miles to the north.

Linbo is in stable condition at a local hospital, the Sheriff's Office said.

Attempts to talk with the Bronken family Wednesday were not successful.

Lisa Roberts, who lives four houses down from the Bronkens on Red Oak Drive in Round Lake, Ill., said she knew something was wrong when cars began arriving at the Bronken house Wednesday afternoon.

Katherine couldn't have been released so soon from the hospital, Roberts thought.

Roberts, 53, who moved to the neighborhood around the time Katherine was born, remembers her as a "nice little girl," she said.

"I remember the stroller, the tricycle, then recently there was a dance at the school. They had their front yard set up with a little arch where the kids could get their photograph," Roberts said.

Shaken by the news, Roberts said she felt horrible for Katherine's mother, Susan, who lost her 20-year-old daughter Christine in a Wisconsin snowmobile accident in 2009. The obituary for Christine listed, in addition to her sister Katherine, a brother, Tommy.

"She just has her son now," said Roberts. "I can't believe how one family can get hit like that."

The tragedy also has touched people in the Tampa Bay area, where Jeffrey Bronken and the girls were headed for spring break.

Wednesday at sunset, Safety Harbor resident Janet Lee Stinson, 42, hosted a brief vigil for the families under the gazebo at John Wilson Park.

"We just want them to know the city of Safety Harbor has them in their thoughts and is sending their love," Stinson said.

Tea light candles bordered a large heart filled with colorful scarves as soft music played in the background. About 40 people attended.

Lura Salamon, 57, of Clearwater teared up as she signed a poster for the family.

"It's sad because they were coming here to have such a good time," she said. "I pray they're together and will keep the rest of the family safe."

Staff writer Laura C. Morel, news researcher Caryn Baird and correspondent Terri Bryce Reeves contributed to this report. Charlie Frago can be reached at (727) 445-4159 or [email protected]

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