LAKE WALES, Fla. - A Kansas family, wiped out in seconds after their private plane crashed Thursday in Polk County, is on the minds of complete strangers in a rural area near Lake Wales.
"It's a very tragic thing to happen right in your backyard more or less," said Hughie Chumney. "We heard something that sounded like a space shuttle going over us, a sonic boom."
Chumney lives in the wooded area just a mile from where the Bramlage family's plane crashed. Of the 6 people known to have boarded the plane in the Bahamas, only five bodies were recovered on Thursday. Authorities located Ron and Becky Bramlage, as well as three of their children.
The body of missing Boston Bramlage, 13, was found on Friday.
"We are looking for this child as if it were our child that was out here," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday night. "We must find this child."
The Bramlage name is well-known in their hometown of Junction City, Kansas, where the family's plane was headed. Ron and Becky both graduated from Kansas State University, where the men's and women's basketball teams play in the Bramlage Coliseum.
"The family is absolutely distraught we would be, as all of us would be," Sheriff Judd said.
The plane ripped apart mid-air, losing parts of both wings and a piece of its fuselage. No one knows why, or when and where Boston left the aircraft.
"We know there was a gaping hole in the aircraft in the area of one of the seats," explained Sheriff Judd.
The debris field stretches across three to four miles of wooded area, past the backyard of a man who saw the plane go down around 12:30pm.
"Spiraling like it was in a bank, a turn. It wasn't nose down,' Andy Trupiano remembered. "He got down pretty low and I thought, this can't be good. Pretty soon he went behind the trees and then you heard the boom."
Trupiano soon learned who was inside, and admits, though he's never met the Bramlage family, he's grieved by their deaths.
"Pretty tragic to hear a family lost their life."
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