Coast Guard Suspends Lake Erie Search for Small Plane, Survivors

Updated 12:20 a.m. Dec. 31:

The U.S. Coast Guard on Friday night suspended its search of Lake Erie for debris and survivors from a small plane that disappeared from radar after takeoff. 

There were three adults and three children aboard when the Cessna Citation 525 left Burke Lakefront Airport on Thursday night, Coast Guard officials said.

"The decision to suspend a search is never easy," Coast Guard Capt. Michael Mullen said in a news release. "I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost loved ones during this tragedy."

Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Air Force crews took part in the more than 20 hour search, according to the release. 

The aircraft was scheduled to take off from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland at 10:37 p.m., Mullen said in a Friday news conference. At 11:18 p.m., he said, air traffic control notified the coast guard that it had lost touch with the plane.

The plane was two miles from shore when it disappeared from air traffic control radar, Mullen said.

At the news conference, Mullen said the Coast Guard had received several faint hits of an emergency transmitter signal, “but we have not received a strong, steady pulse.”

Rescue crews used night vision goggles to search the water Thursday night, but faced difficult weather conditions.

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