Round Lake teens still hospitalized; support shown for plane crash victims

Two teenage girls from Round Lake remain hospitalized due to injuries suffered in a small-airplane crash near Tampa, Fla., last weekend, officials said Monday.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, of Round Lake, was killed early morning March 22 when the single-engine Piper PA-28-181 aircraft he was piloting crashed a few miles north of St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. Police said Bronken’s 15-year-old daughter and her friend were injured.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the crash. In general, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said, there are about 1,500 general aviation crashes in the United States annually.

Katherine Bronken remained in serious but stable condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, according to family friend Ken Hoxie.

Katherine Bronken’s friend, 15-year-old Keyana Linbo, also was in the hospital Monday, Hoxie said. Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office officials have said Linbo’s injuries did not appear life-threatening.

Hoxie said Bronken and Linbo have family and friends with them in Florida. Both girls attend Grant Community High School in Fox Lake.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be made for Jeffrey Bronken, Hoxie said.

In Round Lake, support for the crash victims can be found outside the Bronken home. On Sunday, Hoxie said, visitors placed their thoughts on a poster planted in the ground.

“I can’t believe how many people showed up,” he said. “It was just all day.”

Jeffrey Bronken took off for Florida from Campbell Airport in Round Lake Park about 6:30 p.m. March 21, officials said. His intended destination of St. Pete-Clearwater is a full-service airport with commercial passenger service, cargo, military and general aviation operations.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara