Community gathers for pilot, teen killed in plane crash

TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A teenager who had been
clinging to life following a weekend plane crash in Pinellas County that killed
her father died Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Katherine Bronken, 15,
and her friend, Keyana Linbo, 15, were on a small plane from Illinois piloted
by Katherine’s father, 53-year-old Jeffrey Bronken.

It crashed on McMullen
Booth Road near Lake Cypress Drive in Safety Harbor.

The crash killed
Jeffrey. Katherine and Keyana were taken to the hospital. Keyana remains the
only survivor and is in stable condition. Investigators have said her injuries
do not appear to be life threatening.

Hours after word spread
of Katherine’s death, a couple dozen neighbors in Safety Harbor gathered for a
vigil at John Wilson Park.

“My heart goes out
to these people because I know what it’s like to lose somebody you really care
about,” said Lura Salamon, who said she lost her son and mother several years
ago. “I believe with the support of her family and friends that each day
will go by, and she’ll take baby steps and get to the right place. It’ll take
time.”

Those in attendance
called the service a “Heart Vigil,” and used scarves to make the shape
of a heart on the floor of the park’s gazebo.

“Our hearts just
went out to the families. This plane crashed less than a mile from our
community,” said Karen Hackel, who said her home lost power due to the
plane crash. “We’re with them even though they’re so far from home.”

“This is a way to
show (we care) and also just to make other people aware of how fragile life can
be,” added Karen’s husband, Bob.

As those in attendance
remembered the victims who were lost and prayed for the remaining survivor, two
neighbors from the Bronkens’ hometown, Lynne and Jeanne Swanson, watched nearby.
They didn’t know the victims in the accident.

“We never know when this is going to
happen, or this is going to happen, or who it’s going to happen to. It just
kind of makes it a smaller world, I guess,” Jeanne said.