NTSB says pilot reported fuel emergency, hit power lines in crash

SAFETY HARBOR — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the plane crash on McMullen-Booth Road early Saturday that killed the pilot and his 15-year-old daughter and seriously injured another passenger.

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According to the report, the Piper PA-28 left John C. Tune Airport in Nashville just before midnight Friday.

About 4 a.m. Saturday, the pilot, Jeffrey Bronken, was attempting to make a “forced landing” on McMullen-Booth Road, just 6 miles north of his destination, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

“The pilot subsequently reported a fuel emergency and the airplane impacted power lines,” the report said.

When investigators examined the wreckage, they noted an impact to the cabin roof “consistent with a wire strike.”

The left main fuel tank, which remained intact during the impact, contained only about 4 ounces of fuel, the report said.

The right fuel tank was compromised, and the Federal Aviation Administration inspector examining the wreckage saw fuel dripping from it.

The report noted that Bronken did not file a flight plan for the trip to Clearwater. He held a private pilot certificate and an FAA second-class medical certificate, the report said, and as of October last year had reported a total flight experience of 1,549 hours.

Bronken, 53, died at the scene. His daughter, Katie Bronken, died Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Her friend, Keyana Linbo, was stable at a local hospital. All were from Round Lake, Ill., and were on their way to Clearwater for spring break.