CLEVELAND (AP) — Crews searching Lake Erie on Friday found what may be human remains on a seat from a plane that was carrying six people when it disappeared more than a week ago.
Officials said Friday night that the remains were being analyzed by a medical examiner to determine if they are human. They said the remains were found on a seat from the plane’s passenger compartment.
Divers guided by an underwater detector earlier Friday found the cockpit voice recorder and pieces of the tail from the plane. They continued to search into the evening for the plane’s fuselage debris despite rough conditions that limited visibility to less than a foot just off shore from downtown Cleveland.
Authorities later said they had concluded their search for the day, would resume Monday and would be meeting to determine their next steps. They said they’d continue to search until they’re confident they’ve found all they can.
Transmissions from a locator beacon detector helped narrow the search area, but divers moved slowly as they followed the signals.
Daytime temperatures have been in the teens throughout the search, and Friday’s noon reading in Cleveland was 14 degrees with a wind chill of 3. The search by air and along the shore for debris continued as weather permitted.
Investigators have said the cockpit voice recorder appeared to be intact and would be sent to Washington, D.C., for further examination. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tim Sorenson said the review is only in the beginning stages.
Searchers said previously they were looking for the cockpit voice recorder in an underwater area about 125 feet by 325 feet. They have found almost daily debris that is consistent with the Cessna 525 Citation, which vanished shortly after takeoff from Burke Lakefront Airport on Dec. 29.
The plane was piloted by John T. Fleming, the president of a Columbus beverage distribution company. The passengers were his wife, Suzanne Fleming; their teenage sons, Jack and Andrew; and two neighbors, Brian Casey and his teenage daughter, Megan Casey, a freshman nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The group was returning to Columbus after attending a Cleveland Cavaliers game in downtown Cleveland.
The Flemings’ relatives have scheduled calling hours Sunday and a memorial service Monday at a church in Canfield, near Youngstown. A second memorial is planned Tuesday at a church in Delaware, north of Columbus.
The families of Fleming and his wife issued a statement thanking supporters for their concern and kindness.
“The families are touched by the tremendous outpouring of support and continue to be grateful to all the agencies and individuals who have aided in the search and recovery efforts, now in the capable hands of the City of Cleveland,” it said.
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