CLEVELAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Investigators searching for a missing Cleveland plane that carried two Boardman graduates found items that appear to be human remains during an afternoon dive Friday.
Divers also found the tail section of the Cessna 525 Citation plane that disappeared over a week ago.
“We did recover a seat from the passenger compartment and on that seat, we discovered items that appear to be human remains,” said Port Control Interim Director Fred Szabo.
Commissioner Khalid Bahhur with Burke Lakefront Airport, where the plane took off from, said they called a medical examiner to determine if the debris is human remains.
They also found the in-tact cockpit voice recorder, which will be on its way to Washington, D.C. for analysis.
“At this point, the investigation is just getting started. It’s barely begun,” said National Transportation and Safety Board investigator Tim Sorenson.
Other debris has also been located, and it will be analyzed to be determined if it belongs to the plane. They are continuing to look for the plane’s fuselage.
There won’t be additional dives or recovery efforts this weekend because of forecasted weather and water conditions. Investigators expected to continue Monday morning, depending on the weather.
City officials said regardless, they’ll keep searching until they are confident they’ve found everything they can.
Thursday, an underwater locator beacon detector picked up multiple transmissions believed to be from the plane. That led to a search of the area where the debris was found.
Two vessels equipped with sonar, along with divers, used an underwater located beacon detector to search for the plane on Friday morning. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources also deployed a vessel with crews from the Cleveland Fire Department.
They say the search is slow-going because conditions along the bottom of the lake are limiting visibility to a few inches.
The NTSB is now investigating what caused the crash.
Meanwhile, calling hours have been scheduled for the Fleming family, who was on board the flight.
Superior Beverage CEO John T. Fleming was piloting the plane that disappeared over Lake Erie on Dec. 29. His wife, two teen sons, and their neighbor, Brian Casey, and his daughter, Megan, were also on the plane. They had attended the Cleveland Cavaliers game and were on their way back to their home in the Columbus area.
John Fleming and his wife, Suzanne, were Boardman High School graduates.
Calling hours for the Fleming family will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 at Canfield Presbyterian Church, and a memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9. Another memorial service is also scheduled at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 at Liberty Presbyterian Church in Delaware, Ohio.