Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
CLEVELAND — Search and Recovery efforts for the Cessna 525 Citation that went missing Thursday evening after taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport continue today.
First and foremost, this operation is search and recovery. At the center of these search and recovery efforts is the family of the passengers aboard that aircraft. This is an incredibly difficult situation for the family and we again ask that you respect the sensitive nature of this investigation and the family as you share information.
The Cleveland Division of Police is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board on this active investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board’s equipment has arrived and an NTSB technician will operate the equipment. One vessel has been deployed in the Cleveland Harbor with the underwater locator beacon (the name of the equipment) to see if a transmission “ping” from the aircraft can be heard. Conditions only allow this equipment to be in the harbor today. This equipment will be deployed to the search grid tomorrow.
Foot patrols and mounted units continue to search the shoreline east of Burke Lakefront Airport. The Cleveland Division of Police helicopter is searching the shoreline by air as weather permits. Right now, the weather is not allowing it to search. There are very high winds off the lake today causing high waves and conditions unsuitable for smaller water craft and dive teams.
The Unified Command is working with a team of surveyors as well as highly skilled civil, mechanical, and computer engineers to locate the missing aircraft. The team has been building simulations and 3D models to help hone in on the most probable areas for recovery. Various data has been received over the past few days from the FAA, NTSB, FBI, and other agencies. As data arrives we are updating our models to adjust and refine where assets are placed on the shore and in the water. These models and simulations will not be released as they are part of the active investigation.
Additional debris has been recovered today along the shoreline. Some of the debris collected today is relevant to this investigation. We are not sharing specific information about the debris as it is part of an active investigation.
Several requests have been made about the cost of the search and recovery efforts. There is no cost estimate and the financial details will be handled when the search and recovery operations have concluded. The unified command’s continued focus is on the search and recovery efforts.
Several requests have also been made about our partnerships with government entities, contractors and other internal and external resources. Unified Command is utilizing resources based on the needs of the investigation and search and rescue operations.
Specific inquires have been made about the City not utilizing resources from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Cleveland Division of Police Dive team and other entities. The City called the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, December 30, 2016. A response was received from the Army Corps via email on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Email interactions continued today and the Army Corps response was: “Regarding the current search and rescue/recovery, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District can provide a very limited role in assisting your efforts. Our floating plant the Tug CHERAW, can possibly be made available for a day or two, as operations and weather permit. Sustained response/recovery efforts would be limited to a FEMA tasker, unfortunately.”
Cleveland Division of Police Divers have not been engaged at this point because sufficient dive teams were available for the number of vessels deployed for the designated search area.
The City of Cleveland will continue to notify the family of all assistance requests and continue to utilize all resources that meet the needs of the search and recovery operations.
The Cleveland Division of Police is leading the investigation, following up on all reports of debris and processing them to determine if they are related to this investigation. Anyone who sees debris should call the non-emergency number of the Cleveland Division of Police at 216-621-1234 or Burke Lakefront Airport at 216-781-6411.
“We want to remind everyone that this is an active investigation,” said Calvin Williams, Chief of Police. “If you see something that could be debris from the plane, we are asking people to avoid touching it, and to call the Division of Police immediately.”