Search for missing plane suspended as darkness falls Sunday evening

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CLEVELAND - Three days after a plane vanished over Lake Erie with six people on board, a new clue rises to the water's surface.

Cleveland Police recovered a bag found near the Shoreby Club Harbor in Bratenahl. The contents are being investigated as a part of the search for the missing plane.

"Just devastated, devastated it's so hard," said Stephanie Watroba as she walked the Cleveland shoreline. "I just keep thinking about the families, extended families what they're going through right now."

Sunday's recovery efforts mark only the second full day of actively searching for the Fleming family and two other passengers on board the Cessna 525. The search planned Saturday came to an end before it even started due to dangerous weather conditions.

Recovery efforts now include five boats from Cleveland Police and Fire, The U.S. Coast Guard, and Underwater Marine Contractors. Four of the boats are using sonar to track images underwater. A fifth boat is focusing on the shoreline searching for any potential debris.

“We want to remind everyone that this is an active investigation,” said Calvin Williams, Chief of Police. “If you see something that could be debris from the plane, we are asking people to avoid touching it, and to call the Division of Police immediately.”

During the course of search and recovery Sunday, the  command center received multiple reports of debris washing ashore east of Burke Lakefront Airport.  Cleveland Police are following up on all such reports. Anyone who sees debris overnight Sunday should call the non-emergency number of the Cleveland Division of Police at 216-621-1234 or Burke Lakefront Airport at 216-781-6411.

Caryn Werman was scanning the designated search zone at Edgewater Beach with her dog also looking for debris.

"We were watching while we were walking up and down by the lake watching the dogs reactions we did not see anything," said Werman. "Hopefully they are able to recover it and bring it up to the surface today hopefully."

John Fleming was piloting the small plane, on board were his wife two teenage sons and two neighbors. Everyone was in town for a Cavaliers game and headed to Columbus after 10 p.m. Thursday night when they lost contact over Lake Erie.

"I really don't want to be that person to find anything. I hope they do find something just to put closure to it," said Watroba.

A police helicopter is also being used in recovery efforts. Along with private dive teams who are prepared to begin their operations once the location of the plane is found. The search will resume at first light Monday.

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