A small plane headed from the Bahamas to Kansas crashed into the Polk County woods Thursday afternoon, killing an entire family -- including four children.
The silver single-engine Pilatus PC-12 came down in the middle of a remote wooded area near Rattlesnake Road and Bob Cat Trail in Lake Wales, sitting in several pieces.
Flight-tracking website FlightAware.com showed the plane had taken off from the Bahamas on Thursday morning, then stopped over at St. Lucie County International Airport.
It took off again just after noon and was headed for Kansas, but not long into the flight, the plane veered from its flight plan.
"As I was getting to the trees, I was seeing things falling off," witness Caitlin Reddick recalled, "like pieces of the wings were breaking off."
"We looked at it, and it was just wobbling back and forth," witness Dalton Reddick said. "It just started tail diving down behind the trees."
The Polk County Sheriff's Office confirmed the account, though the cause of the crash wasn't immediately known.
"Parts of the aircraft have been located as far as two miles from the crash site," the agency said in a written update this evening. "It is apparent that parts of the aircraft separated before the crash. The aircraft was traveling at approximately 26,000 feet when it first began experiencing trouble."
A couple and their four children were killed in the crash. A spokesman for the family said the victims were Ron and Becky Bramlage and their four children Brandon, Boston, Beau and Roxanne.
One body, believed to be 13-year-old Boston, remains missing. The sheriff's office said it will be out searching the area Friday, but there is no way he survived.
"We would want that child to survive, but it was such a catastrophic event we're absolutely sure there were no survivors," Sheriff Grady Judd said.
The plane was registered to Roadside Ventures out of Junction City, Kansas.
They own an investment company in Junction City, and Mrs. Bramlage is on the president of the local school board.
They come from a prominent family in Kansas known for giving scholarships and other large charitable donations. The family also has strong ties to Kansas State University, with the school's basketball arena named for Ron Bramlage's grandfather.
Judd pledged the search would continue with ATVs, helicopters and horses on the ground Friday.
"Quite frankly, we hope we can get our helicopter up early and stay up all day long … We'll do everything we can to recover the child," Judd said.
Judd also said the plane was previously used by a lawyer for Casey Anthony, and he said it is believed Anthony rode on the plane several times.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?