Bramlage Family Plane Crash: Search on for boy killed in plane crash, and answers

2:53 PM, Jun 8, 2012   |    comments
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  • After an extensive search of the crash site it was confirmed one of the children, believed to be 13-year-old Boston, was missing.



Lake Wales, Florida -- An enormous force is trekking through the Polk County woods, searching for 13-year-old Boston Bramlage along with answers in the plane crash that killed the Bramlage family.

LIVE VIDEO: Sheriff Grady Judd press conference 

To cover thousands of acres in the sometimes swampy Tiger Creek Preserve, almost everything in the search and recovery toolbox poured into the woods at sunrise Friday.

More than a dozen ATVs, five search dogs, several horses, two boats, and a pair of law enforcement swamp buggies with raised platforms sitting above giant tires rolled down a dirt road and into the sometimes thick and wet woods.

Debris from the Bramlage's single-engine airplane has been spotted as far as four miles from the spot where the plane hit the ground. And out there, somewhere, is the objective of all of this effort: the body of Boston Bramlage.

The remains of his parents, Ron Bramlage and Becky Bramlage--along with his three siblings, Brandon, Beau, and Roxanne--were found inside their crashed plane yesterday, south of Lake Wales.

Ron Bramlage was flying the plane on the family's return trip to Junction City, Kansas from the Bahamas when the plane broke apart over Polk County and crashed.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd vowed the search teams that have come from as far as Ocala will shrug off the swampy conditions and potential storms, giving their all to this search effort.

Federal investigators from the NTSB and FAA have their own search going on, as they hunt for the reason the plane with an eventful history came apart in mid-flight.

Tim Monville, an NTSB senior investigator, spent Friday measuring and logging the crash site and coordinating input from experts in radar, weather, and air traffic control.

Parts of the left wing, right wing, and the horizontal part of the tail that sticks out to the sides of the plane were all recovered "some distance away" from the plane's final resting place, Monville said. Eventually, those parts will be used to reassemble the plane for further investigation at another site.

The builder of the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft told the NTSB they've never seen one of their aircraft come apart in midair. Monville cautioned it's too early to tell whether the separating pieces caused the crash or were a symptom of something else going wrong.

Around the time the Bramlage's plane vanished from radar just after noon Thursday, another pilot heard Ron Bramlage call out "mayday" over the radio, Bramlage didn't describe the emergency, Monville said.

Investigators took steps to confirm that all six members of the prominent Kansas family were actually onboard the plane when it went down, since one child was still missing.

Witnesses and customs officials in Ft. Pierce, Florida -- where the plane stopped on its way from the Bahamas to Kansas -- remembered seeing two adults and four children, all together, wrapping up their fun family vacation.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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