Community gathers for pilot, teen killed in plane crash - FOX 13 News

Community gathers for pilot, teen killed in plane crash

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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.

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