Unconfirmed Portions of Fuselage Found; Divers Recover Voice Recorder From Missing Plane

Dive teams Friday recovered the cockpit voice recorder of a plane that disappeared into Lake Erie a week ago, as well as a portion of the plane.  The plane’s tail is the largest piece of wreckage found so far in the days-long investigation, according to a spokesperson for the city of Cleveland.

The cockpit voice recorder was recovered early Friday afternoon after an underwater beacon detector received signals from the recorder.  That helped narrow the search grid.  When asked why the beacon detector wasn’t dispatched earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board’s Tim Sorensen explained that poor underwater visibility required the more unusual method.  

"It’s not something that’s commonly done as I understand it," said Sorenson.  "Search and rescue is normally conducted by sonar underwater searches."

The voice recorder will be shipped to Washington D.C. and analyzed by NTSB.  Divers will continue searching the lake until early evening, or as long as weather allows.  The NTSB investigation into the cause of the accident has not yet begun, but Sorensen says the agency has started collecting documentation about the aircraft, pilot, and the weather.

A family of four as well as a father and his daughter were on board the Cessna that disappeared off radar shortly after takeoff last Thursday from Burke Lakefront Airport.  Memorial services for one of the families will take place early next week.  According to the Columbus Dispatch, a service for Brian Casey and his daughter Megan Casey is scheduled for Sunday, January 15.   

Update from 6:30pm:

In an evening press conference, officials announced they have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and portions of what they believe to be the tail section of the plane. The search also uncovered what is believed to be human remains. The medical examiner is analyzing that evidence to confirm. The search is concluded for today.

Update Monday, January 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm:

Search and recovery teams may have found pieces of the plane's fuselage this afternoon.  Large pieces of debris as well as seats possibly from the Cessna 525 Citation have also been recovered.  Investigators are working to confirm if the recovered pieces are parts of the plane missing since December 29.

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