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."