A single-engine plane crashed Thursday in central Florida, claiming the lives of six members of an affluent family from Junction City, Kan., including four children, who were on their way back home from a vacation in the Bahamas.
Ron Bramlage, 45, his wife, Becky, 43, and their four children, ages 8 to 15, were killed when their small plane crashed into a Florida swamp, according to various news reports.
Bramlage, who owned Roadside Ventures LLC, an outdoor advertising company in Junction City, was piloting the 2006 Pilatus Pc-12/47, a single-turboprop, fixed-wing plane, when it appeared to break apart while in the air and go down about 12:30 p.m. in the Tiger Creek Preserve. Becky Bramlage was president of the Geary County Board of Education.
The couple graduated from Kansas State University. Bramlage was the grandson of the late Fred Bramlage, a 1935 graduate, who later was the lead contributor to the construction of the school's coliseum, which is now home to K-State's basketball teams.
The family had been vacationing in the Bahamas and left Treasure Cay around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, bound for home. The plane stopped in St. Lucie County for immigration purposes and then took off again just after noon, according to several reports. It crashed about 30 minutes later into the swamp.
The bodies have been recovered, except for Boston, 13, who was believed to have been sucked out of the plane when a hole opened in the fuselage. Rescue teams planned to continue searching for him on Friday; however, poor weather conditions could complicate their efforts, as searchers will be combing hundreds of acres in thick steep forests.
Both Bramlages remained active in K-State, serving as as foundation trustees and members of the President's Club. Kenny Lannou, spokesman for K-State, said the family was in the school's prayers.
We are shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the deaths of Ron and Becky Bramlage and their children today, according to a statement issued on behalf of University President Kirk Schulz and Athletic Director John Currie. The Bramlage family holds a special place in the history of Kansas State University and K-State Athletics, and Ron and Becky have been loyal supporters and great fans of K-State. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bramlage family during this difficult time.
Friends of the Bramlage family were said to have placed flowers and other mementos outside the family's home on Thursday night.