Search for missing plane in Lake Erie turns up seats, debris

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2017 5:17 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — Divers searching Lake Erie's icy waters for a plane that vanished with six people on board more than a week ago found large pieces of debris on Monday, including what may be part of the fuselage, city officials said.

Crews also recovered seats that appear to be from the plane that disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from a lakefront airport on Dec. 29, city officials said.

All of the debris is being closely examined before the city will confirm it came from the plane.

Crews had spotted several large pieces below the water's surface on Friday but were unable to get them out of the water. They also found the plane's cockpit voice recorder last week and pieces of its tail along with a seat that might have human remains on it.

The six people who were aboard the plane are presumed dead.

A memorial service was held Monday in Canfield for the plane's pilot, Columbus business executive John T. Fleming, his wife, Sue Fleming, and their teenage sons, Jack and Andrew. A second memorial is planned Tuesday at Liberty Presbyterian Church in Delaware.

The Flemings were returning to Columbus after making the trip to a Cleveland Cavaliers game with their neighbor Brian Casey and his teenage daughter, University of Wisconsin-Madison nursing student Megan Casey.

A service to celebrate the Caseys' lives is scheduled Sunday, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The recovery operation was being hampered by challenging condition on the lake. On Monday, a tugboat was used to break up ice before divers resumed their search. Last week, divers had to move slowly as they followed signals from a locator beacon because of extremely limited visibility.

Officials have said they will continue to search until they're confident they have found all they can.