NTSB releases preliminary report on plane that crashed into Lake Erie

Posted at 11:28 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 21:06:33-05

The National Transportation Safety Board released their preliminary report on the Cessna 525 that crashed into Lake Erie. 

The Cessna 525 Citation went missing on Dec. 29, 2016. John T. Fleming, the CEO of Columbus-based Superior Beverage Group, was piloting the plane. His wife, Suzanne, and their two sons, Jack and Andrew, and neighbors Megan and Brian Casey, were also aboard the aircraft. 

Since the plane went missing, hundreds of pieces of debris have been recovered from the lake. 

On Friday, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner confirmed they found the remains of 45-year-old pilot John Thomas Fleming, his son, 15-year-old John (Jack) Robert Fleming, and neighbor Brian Casey.

The City of Cleveland announced Tuesday that it was suspending the search for the remainder of the passengers and the rest of the plane.

According to the NTSB report, the plane departed the OSU airport at about 5:30 p.m. and arrived at Burke Lakefront Airport around 6 p.m.

The pilot and passengers attended the Cleveland Cavaliers game that evening and then returned to the airport around 10:30 p.m. 

The report gives some insight into the communication between the tower and the pilot before the plane went missing.

According to the NTSB, the air traffic cleared the pilot for takeoff around 10:56 p.m. and instructed him to turn right to a heading of 330 degrees and maintain 2,000 feet mean seal level (msl). 

But data shows the plane actually reached an altitude of approximately 2,925 feet msl before making a descending right turn and disappearing from the radar. 

After multiple attempts to contact the pilot were unsuccessful, the controller initiated search and rescue procedures.

The cockpit voice recorder from the plane was located about .10 miles northeast of the final data point. NTSB officials said the device recorded the entirety of the incident. IT was transferred to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for further investigation.

Read the full report here