Plane crash victims thought to be Catawissa residents
GETTYSBURG - The two victims killed in a small plane crash early Thursday near Gettysburg are believed to have been Catawissa residents.
The families of Miranda Rose, 17, and pilot Michael Chester Bronzburg, 46, both of 9 Hollow Road, submitted brief death notices to The (Bloomsburg) Press Enterprise, saying they each died in "a plane crash near Biglerville, Adams County."
Miranda was a junior at Southern Columbia Area School District.
Investigators have not released the identity of the victims, even though autopsies were performed Friday; Adams County Coroner Pat Felix said she is awaiting the results of DNA testing.
However, since Thursday, condolences from friends and family have been pouring onto the Facebook page of Doreen Rose, who is Miranda's mother and Michael's girlfriend.
Efforts to reach Doreen Rose and Lori Bronzburg-George, the pilot's sister, were unsuccessful Sunday, but the women told The Press Enterprise Saturday authorities asked about Bronzburg's dental records and the coroner warned them it didn't look good.
"To see the pictures, you know there was no chance," Bronzburg-George told the Bloomsburg newspaper.
Picking up family
State Trooper Rob Hicks said the 5:30 a.m. crash scattered debris over a quarter-mile area, and the plane was destroyed.
The twin-engine Piper PA30 Twin Comanche took off from the Bloomsburg Airport at 5 a.m., traveled 80 miles and crashed into a field 1.5 miles east of central Biglerville 30 minutes later. The family told The Press Enterprise the two were traveling to South Carolina to pick up Bronzburg's 11-year-old twins, Camden and Harley, for the holidays.
According to reports from The Gettysburg Times, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) personnel placed bright pink flags along a trail of wreckage. No large pieces of debris were visible outside the perimeter authorities established around the crash site.
Autopsies conducted Friday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown indicated the deaths were caused by "multiple injuries, at this point," Felix told The Gettysburg Times.
The deaths were likely instantaneous, Felix said Thursday. She said retrieval of remains was complete about 4 p.m. Thursday. There were no survivors.
No fire or explosions were reported and it is unclear if weather played a part in the crash.
'Anticipating the worst'
Southern Columbia Superintendent Paul Caputo said the school administrators will meet this morning to discuss the district's strategy when students return to school Thursday.
"As far as we're concerned, it is unconfirmed, but we're anticipating the worst and we want to make sure we have the proper support in place in the event the news is confirmed," Caputo said.
High School Principal James Becker said the school crisis team will likely include four district counselors, a social worker, a psychologist and several administrators who have personal experience with tragedies. They will be available for any student who needs to grieve during the school day.
"We'll have people available and try to make a horrible situation bearable until we get back to some kind of normalcy," he said. "It's not going to be easy."
Becker, who said he would only talk about Miranda's presumed death in an unconfirmed fashion, said the girl was artistic, was involved in school musicals and took photographs for the yearbook. She was a smart student who took honor courses and was taking college courses through Luzerne County Community College.
She was a "bright, young, energetic and lively person," he said. "She had a bright future. She was on her way to do some great things."
Her family told The Press Enterprise she wanted to work as a diplomat in a foreign country or become the first female president of the United States.
Becker said Miranda would always say "good morning" to him in the hallways.
"There was always a pleasantry about her," he said.
Bronzburg, a 1985 graduate of Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech, got his pilot's license and bought his first plane two years ago.
Funeral arrangements for Bronzburg and Miranda have been entrusted to the care of the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg, according to the Bloomsburg paper.