Lake Wales, Florida -- The Polk County Sheriff's Office has confirmed a family of six was killed in the single-engine plane that crashed in Lake Wales Thursday afternoon.
Officials say the call came in around 12:40 p.m. that the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop, single-engine plane with tail #N950KA went down in the area of Walk in Water Road and Jewell Lane. It took crews over an hour to reach the plane. Officers were forced to get to the crash site on ATVs and medical staff were flown in due to the lack of accessibility in the area.
Investigators say the plane began to break apart before it crashed as parts of the plane could be found as far as 2 miles from the crash site in the Tiger Creek Swamp area. The plane was at about 26,000 feet when it began to experience problems, however, investigators do not know at this time what caused the crash.
Joyce Trupiana says she and her husband Andy were home when the plane went down. Andy stepped outside and could only watch in horror.
"He said it was spiraling. It just sprialed down - went out of sight and then he heard the boom," said Joyce.
Other neighbors, like Hughie Chumney say they couldn't see the plane, but hear it struggling before impact.
"Sounded like they were doing acrobatics or something and then heard a boom like a sonic boom like when the space shuttle flies over. And then - that's all you heard," he said.
The sheriff's office says Ron Bramlage was flying the plane with his family--wife Rebecca, and their four children--at the time of the crash. Three of the children have been located and detectives are still looking for the fourth child.
The Bramlage family is said to be very popular in their community. Well-liked, and big Kansas State University boosters.
According to FlightAware.com, the plane, owned by Bramlage's company Roadside Ventures LLC, was enroute from St. Lucie County International Airport to Freeman Field in Junction City, Kansas.
The plane's track shows it originally left Treasure Cay, Bahamas Thursday morning at 9:25 a.m. and arrived at St. Lucie County Int. at 10:15 a.m. for immigration. It then took off again at 12:05 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive at 3:41 p.m. at Junction City.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office is conducting the investigation into the family's death. The NTSB and FAA will be investigating the crash along with the plane's manufacturer and engine manufacturer.