City of Cleveland ends recovery effort for passengers on board plane that crashed into Lake Erie

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 17:33:12-05

Recovery operations for the plane that crashed into Lake Erie late last month carrying a Columbus beer executive and his family, along with friends has ended.

In the press conference conducted by city officials, they announced that the search for remaining parts of the plane has ended. 

Burke Lakefront Airport Commissioner, Khalid Bahhur said the family was briefed during the entire recovery efforts.

"We ask that you respect their privacy and give them time to grieve and move on with their lives," Bahhur said.

During the press conference, he was asked what could be done going forward for future cases. He explained how the plane crash wasn't related to the operations at Burke Lakefront Airport.

"Our activity here is airfield recovery," said Bahhur. "We don't have the capability for water recovery efforts which is why we had to work with many departments, even as far as New York."

The recovery crew for today included Underwater Marine Contractors’ Salvage Chief, its crew, and a crew from Cleveland Fire.

Data from Saturday's search was used to narrow down Tuesday's final search. 

Bart Schasfoort from Underwater Marine Contractors, Inc., said the main goal of Tuesday's search was to find more human remains, but nothing additional was found aside from more debris.

Divers targeted dives in several locations based off of data collected from Saturday's sonar scans.

During the entire operation, rescue teams recovered significant pieces of debris from the aircraft including one engine, portions of the fuselage, seats, both wings, rear stabilizer bar, tailpieces, portions of the cockpit, and other items from inside the aircraft. 

Personnel from the Cleveland Fire department operated the sector sonar to take images of the diving area and track and also to guide divers.

Due to conditions in the water, it's unlikely that additional human remains will be recovered.

Commissioner Bahhur stated “This was a very difficult decision to make and not one that was taken lightly. We have shared this information with the families and as you can understand they are heartbroken.”

The Cleveland Division of Police will provide the FAA and NTSB with a complete report.