Update: Search and Recovery Mission for Missing Plane Continues

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Update 9:30am Jan. 6:

An underwater locator beacon detector from the National Transportation Safety Board was deployed into the Cleveland harbor Wednesday afternoon and into the search grid on the lake Thursday.  Once deployed, the detector received multiple transmissions and they've been used to narrow down the search for the Cockpit Voice Recorder to a 125 by 325-foot search area, according to a statement from the city.

However, visibility for divers in Lake Erie Friday is low, so it may take hours to find the Cockpit Voice Rcorder.  “Our main goal is investigating the circumstances and cause of the accident. The equipment is designed to assist in locating the Cockpit Voice Recorder, which would aid us in this investigation," said Tim Sorensen, NTSB Aviation Accident Investigator, in a statement.

Additional debris has been discovered along the lake shoreline, but the city says it is not yet been confirmed as relevant to the case.

The search continued Tuesday for debris related to an aircraft that disappeared on Lake Erie.  More than 120 pieces of debris have been recovered from Lake Erie and its shores, but it’s unclear how many of those pieces are related to the missing Cesna 525 Citation.  City of Cleveland Safety Director Mike McGrath says recent warm weather has made searching the 4-mile long stretch of the lake more convenient

"The weather actually has been cooperative," says McGrath.  "The lake’s had a light chop, the winds have been light, and the captains are operating out there quite efficiently."

But the 7 vessels and 4 diving crews out on the lake for 3 days now have not been able to locate an engine, a cockpit voice recorder, or an emergency locator transmitter.  The transmitter sends out a signal - and Fred Szabo, the city’s interim director of Port Control, says crews are trying to locate it.  "There’s actually a piece of equipment on its way to Cleveland now that’s specifically designed to detect that particular frequency and we’re hopeful that it will find it for us," explains Szabo.

The city’s Division of Police is overseeing the shoreline search, while the Cleveland Division of Fire is focused on the lake – including using sonar technology to find items underwater.  The National Transportation Safety Board will not be on the scene until search and recovery is complete. 

The plane carrying six passengers disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from Burke Lakefront airport Thursday night.  In a statement, Columbus company Superior Beverage Group said CEO John T. Fleming, his wife, and their two children were involved in the accident.  On Monday, the University of Wisconsin-Madison identified freshman student Megan Casey and her father Brian as the other two on the plane. 

The City of Cleveland requests anyone who sees debris to report it to the non-emergency number of the Cleveland Division of Police at 216-621-1234 or Burke Lakefront Airport at 216-781-6411. 


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