Pilot killed in Pinellas crash may have had fuel emergency - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Pilot killed in Pinellas crash may have had fuel emergency

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The plane was removed from McMullen Booth Road Saturday afternoon. The plane was removed from McMullen Booth Road Saturday afternoon.
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A “fuel emergency” communication from the plane that crashed on McMullen Booth Road in Pinellas County early Saturday morning appears to be an early indicator of what was going on inside the plane.

“He made a broadcast that he was requiring a fuel emergency and that he was going to try to land on a highway,” according to an air traffic control communication website.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Jeffery Bronken died when his plane crashed on McMullen Booth Road Saturday after hitting power lines on the way down. Bronken’s daughter Katherine and her friend Keyana Linbo were also injured in the crash. The girls, both 15, are being treated at St. Joseph’s hospital.

A local pilot says it can be hard to see obstacles at night.

“If it’s just a power line crossing the road, you’re not going to see that. Its black and you’re flying in pitch blackness. You have your landing lights on and those are not going to illuminate anything until it’s probably too late,” said pilot David Gagliano about the difficulties of landing at night on a highway.

The NTSB is handling the investigation and says the plane wreckage has been taken to a secure location. They will now collect information including the pilot's blood work, interviews, maintenance records and many other things before they analyze what brought the plane down. They will also look at the pilot's schedule several days before the flight, to see if fatigue could’ve played a factor.

“Instead of being a two-hour trip, it’s going to be like a seven-hour trip. It can take a lot out of you,” said Gagliano.

Friends and family of the teens from Illinois created banners to show their support. They will be sent to Tampa where the teens are recovering later this week.

“A couple of the friends came up with an idea of putting some banners in front of their house and then posting it on Facebook, texting people letting people know they can come by and write something on them,” said family friend Ken Hoxie.

“Something like this when you’re younger that’s just devastating , I can’t imagine what that’s like,” added Hoxie.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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