NTSB says Safety Harbor plane crash pilot reported fuel emergency

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 a passenger.

Related News/Archive

  • Tampa police officers land helicopter, make rescue after plane crash at airport

    3 Months Ago

  • Small plane crashes on McMullen-Booth Road in North Pinellas; one dead, two girls injured (w/video)

    5 Days Ago

  • Both teenage girls in Safety Harbor plane crash still in hospital

    3 Days Ago

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

About 4 a.m. Saturday, the pilot, Jeffrey Bronken, was attempting to make a “forced landing” on McMullen-Booth Road, just six 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, according to the report, and the fuel selector in the cockpit was set on that tank.

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 total flight experience of 1,549 hours.

Bronken, 53, died at the scene. His 15-year-old 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.

Laura C. Morel may be reached at (727) 445-4157 or lmorel@tampabay.com.