Remains found in search for missing plane confirmed as human

CLEVELAND (WYTV/AP) – Authorities searching Lake Erie for the wreckage of a plane that vanished from radar near Cleveland confirmed that the remains found in a seat late last week are human.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that remains found during Friday’s afternoon dive belong to a man, and are currently working to figure out which passenger they represent.

They also announced Tuesday that a 20-foot piece pulled from the water is from the fuselage of the Cessna 525 Citation that was carrying six people when it disappeared after taking off Dec. 29.

John Fleming was piloting the plane and his wife Sue was on board along with their two children, Jack and Andrew, their neighbor, Brian Casey, and his daughter, Megan. They were heading back to Columbus after a Cavaliers game.

All six are presumed dead.

Since narrowing one of the recovery areas down to the size of a football field, divers have found several pieces.

“Right now we’re removing large pieces and small pieces,” said Khalid Bahhur, Burke Lakefront Airport commissioner.

Searchers said they’ve been able to locate 170 pieces of debris, including several seats, an engine, a front-end wheel and a canopy with windows attached.

“Throughout this investigation we have collected more than 170 pieces of debris, including other pieces of the aircraft, and personal items and clothing that were on the aircraft,” Bahhur said.

Pieces that could suggest the aircraft broke apart upon impact.

“The debris that we’re finding says that, again, it’s an active investigation so once we’re able to obtain additional debris, the [National Transportation Safety Board] and the [Federal Aviation Administration] will come together and they’ll basically identify, they’ll have an answer to that question,” Bahhur said.

They found the plane’s cockpit voice recorder Friday along with the human remains.

The city said rough weather won’t allow more searching until Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.