City: parts of missing plane fuselage, seats may have been found

CLEVELAND – Crews on Lake Erie found what city officials say “appear to be portions of the fuselage” Monday in their search for a plane that went missing on the lake Dec. 29.

The Army Corps of Engineers used a tug to break through the ice so that the  Underwater Marine Contractors’ Salvage Chief could search near the dive site.

Because of the ice on the lake, both boats had to go slowly:

video credit: Underwater Marine Contractors

Dive crews were able to begin bringing up more debris from the water at around 1:30 Monday afternoon. Investigators are going over each piece carefully, but the city reports that “at first look, larger pieces appear to be portions of the fuselage [and] seats that appear to belong to the aircraft were also recovered.”

Foot patrols along the shoreline were reduced because of the weather.

The Cessna Citation 525 disappeared shortly after takeoff from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Dec. 29. The plane, flown by Superior Beverage President and CEO John Fleming, was bound for the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus.

Since the plane went missing, crews have recovered more than 100 pieces of debris. On Friday, dive teams located the cockpit voice recorder, a portion of the tail and a seat from the passenger compartment. They also discovered what appear to be human remains, which were sent to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for analysis.

Calling hours for Fleming, his wife Sue and two sons were held at a Canfield church Sunday afternoon. Memorial services are set for Monday at 11 a.m. at the Canfield Presbyterian Church in Canfield and Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Liberty Presbyterian Church in Delaware.

Neighbor Brian Casey and his daughter Megan were also on board the plane. The group had attended the Cavaliers game earlier that evening.

More stories on the search for the missing plane here