Cleveland police find more than 120 pieces of debris to be 'consistent' with that of missing Cessna

Posted at 2:49 PM, Jan 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 06:51:13-05

Crews recovered more than 120 pieces of debris Monday that appear to be connected to the missing Cessna that disappeared last week carrying a CEO and his family. 

Cleveland officials have scoured portions of Lake Erie since taking over the recovery efforts from the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday morning. 

"During the course of search and recovery operations, Unified Command received multiple reports of debris washing ashore," according to city officials in an emailed update about the recovery. "Over 120 pieces of debris were recovered so far and many are consistent with what would be found on a Cessna 525 Citation. We are not sharing any further information about the debris as it is part of an active investigation."

The first discovery came Sunday afternoon when a bag washed shore near the Shoreby Club in Bratenahl, Ohio. Police later confirmed the bag came from the missing plane. It is unknown what the bag contains. 

The Cessna Citation 525 went missing Thursday night. The U.S. Coast Guard received a report around 11:30 p.m. from air traffic control at Burke Lakefront Airport saying that they had lost connection with the plane.

John T. Fleming, CEO at Superior Beverage Group in Columbus, was flying the plane. The plane was also registered to Fleming, who is a Dublin resident. Aboard the flight with Fleming was his wife, Suzanne, his two teenage sons, a neighbor and a neighbor's daughter, as passengers.

Rescue and recovery efforts began Sunday after being delayed by weather and water conditions on Lake Erie. The Mayor's office issued a statement Sunday that said Crews from the Cleveland Division of Fire, the United States Coast Guard, Underwater Marine Contractors and the Cleveland Division of Police are continuing search and recovery efforts that include five boats as well as the Cleveland Division of Police helicopter.  

Efforts to recover the plane and the six missing people will continue Tuesday.

Boats and planes scoured the surface of Lake Erie all weekend and found little to nothing. Divers searched beneath the waves as well. Those who know diving say their search is difficult, especially with low visibility and rough waters.

"On even a calm, clear day you're going to get lucky 4-6 foot of visibility,” said Mike Hendershot of the Lorain Dive Team.

City search crews are reportedly in constant contact with the families’ loved ones, keeping them up to date to any and all clues that may bring them closer to closure.

“The longer the time goes by you're certainly going to have some movement of wreckage or items,” said Hendershot.