Additional human remains recovered from missing plane in Lake Erie

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 18:51:03-05

Crews searching for parts of a plane that crashed into Lake Erie late last month carrying a beer executive, his family and friends recovered what appeared to be human remains and other debris belonging to the aircraft. 

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson did not provide details about who the remains belonged during a Thursday afternoon press conference. However, he said the process to identify the remains have helped due to the information from relatives.

"The family has been incredibly cooperative. We are able to expedite the identification process due to the information they have so readily shared with us," he said.  

John T. Fleming, 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 when it disappeared Dec. 29 just moments after takeoff from Burke Lakefront Airport.

RELATED:  Human remains confirmed in missing plane; 170 pieces of debris found

Authorities have narrowed their search to near the airport's runway in an effort to find additional debris. On Friday, recovery efforts improved as the engine, human remains belonging to a male and a portion of the tail were found.  

Searching continued Thursday. 

Crews recovered rear pressure bulkhead, left-hand wing, engine cowling (the metal that covers the engine) and the rear stabilizer bar, officials said in a news release. The ARES box, which records mechanical information from the flight was also recovered. The debris has been turned over to the Flight Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board for processing. 

Since crews begin searching Lake Erie they have recovered more than 250 pieces of debris belonging to the plane. 

Bad weather and heavy winds sometimes halted recovery efforts. But crews were back in the water Thursday using side scanning sonar to go over a narrowed portion of the search area. The sonar will be used to get images of the bottom of the lake, and divers will enter the lake where debris may be.