Weather and water conditions prevent search for plane in Lake Erie

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CLEVELAND -- The U.S. Coast Guard and officials from the City of Cleveland provided an update this morning about a plane carrying six people that went missing Thursday evening.

Mayor Frank Jackson, along with officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Port Control and Burke Lakefront Airport, spoke to the media Saturday morning about the search and recovery efforts.

Jackson began by offering condolences to the family of those lost in the tragedy and vowed that the city would do everything it could to cooperate and aid in the investigation.  A representative from the Coast Guard said the search had spanned for 1,400 square miles, while expressing sadness for the families involved:  “Our hearts grieve with family and friends of those lost in this tragedy.”

Officials from Burke Lakefront Airport said they would be working with private divers, special equipment and vessels to find the plane.  The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.  Once the plane is located, it will take months to determine how and why it went down.

Weather and water conditions did not allow for recovery efforts on Lake Erie Saturday.  The search will resume on Sunday, city officials said.

Superior Beverage CEO John T. Fleming was flying the plane that disappeared over Lake Erie Thursday night. His wife, two teen sons, a neighbor and the neighbor's daughter were also on board.

Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland lost communication with the Cessna Citation 525 at about 11 p.m., Thursday, shortly after takeoff.  On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard, using helicopters and the cutter Bristol Bay, expanded its search from Bay Village to Mentor-on-the-Lake.

The search was suspended Friday evening by the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The decision to suspend a search is never easy," said Capt. Michael Mullen, chief of response for the Coast Guard 9th District. "I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost loved ones during this tragedy."

**Additional coverage, here**

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:01 am

Still waiting for city officials to start the news conference.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:06 am

Mayor Frank Jackson, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Authority have entered the room.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:06 am

Mayor Jackson: We want to give condolences to the family. 

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:07 am

Mayor Jackson: We’ve gone from rescue to recovery in this search.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:08 am

U.S. Coast Guard: Search covered 1,400 square miles. “Our hearts grieve with family and friends of those lost in this tragedy.”

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:09 am

Port Control: As a result of Coast Guard transitioning from rescue to recovery, city will work with many partners to recover this plane. Establishing command center at Burke Lakefront Airport. Will provide updates to the public.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:10 am

Port Control: We will work closely with NTSB. Operations will start today.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:10 am

Burke Lakefront Airport: We offer our condolences to the family. We are assembling a team to work closely will all departments involved in the recovery.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:11 am

Burke Lakefront Airport: We’ve contacted private divers to try and locate the missing plane.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:11 am

Burke Lakefront: We will search on water. We have a group of divers, a vessel and equipment to find the plane.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:13 am

Burke Lakefront: The FAA and NTSB to determine what happened to the plane and why it went down.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:14 am

Burke Lakefront: Recovery mission will be “day to day”

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:15 am

Burke Lakefront: If you see anything that could help this investigation, call us or the Cleveland Police Department.

Lindsay Buckingham December 31, 201610:15 am

The news conference has concluded.