Recovery Operations Press Briefing: January 6, 2017 @ 7 pm

Cleveland – At approximately 4:10 p.m., search and recovery divers discovered additional debris in Lake Erie. Not all of the debris was able to be recovered from the water, however, at least some of the debris is believed to be portions of the missing Cessna 525 Citation. At this time, we cannot comment further on the specifics of the plane debris as this does remain an active investigation.

In addition, we can confirm that the medical examiner has collected debris for review and analysis to determine whether or not human remains have been found.

Search and recovery operations have concluded for today and it will be suspended over the weekend due to weather and water conditions. Investigators will respond to any reports of debris on the shoreline over the weekend. However, weather conditions will not allow for foot patrols to conduct shoreline searches.

The City of Cleveland and its partner agencies thank you in advance for respecting the privacy of the families impacted by this tragedy and their time to process this information and grieve for their loved ones, especially as they host memorials for their families this weekend.

Search and recovery operations will begin again on Monday at daybreak and will continue until we are confident we have discovered all that we can.

As we have done throughout this process, we will remain in constant contact with the families. As you can imagine this is a very difficult time for them. They deserve the lives of their loved ones to be celebrated and not sensationalized. Please respect them as we work to bring them answers.

We will post our next update on the morning on Monday, January 9th.

Recovery Operation Update Press Conference Update #16

Friday, January 6, 2017, 3:00 p.m. Press Conference video here.

CLEVELAND —  City of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson joined Fred Szabo, Interim Director of the Cleveland Department of Port Control, Commissioner of Burke Lakefront Airport Khalid Bahhur and Tim Sorensen, Aviation Accident Investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board as they provided an update on search and recovery operations on Lake Erie.

The City of Cleveland can confirm that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was located and retrieved intact from the water at approximately 1:50 p.m. Below is a photo of the diver from Underwater Marine Contractor coming out of the water with this important piece of equipment. It has also been confirmed that a section of the plane’s tail was recovered and has been extracted from the water. Other debris, not yet confirmed to belong to the aircraft, has been located.

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Photo Credit: Underwater Marine Contractors

Tim Sorensen stated that the CVR would be sent to the NTSB lab for analysis. When asked, Mr. Sorensen stated, “the investigation has only just begun.”

This is a difficult time for the families. We ask that you continue to respect their privacy and only share information as it is confirmed. The families have asked us to share the following additional statements on their behalf:

“We, The Fleming and Armeni families, continue to be touched by the tremendous outpouring of support and are incredibly appreciative of all the individuals who have aided in the search and recovery efforts to date. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the heroic efforts and countless hours exerted by the wonderful people at the numerous agencies involved. The City of Cleveland, and all constituencies involved with the rescue and recovery, have shown unbelievable resolve and we applaud everyone for their unwavering commitment to bringing our loved ones home. We extend our deep appreciation for the concern, kindness, and privacy shown by so many during this most difficult time.”

“The Casey family greatly appreciates the dedicated efforts of the rescue and recovery teams, and we are especially thankful for the outpouring of support thoughts and prayers from family, friends and the community.”

suzanne-susie-fleming“Suzie, as she was called, truly valued family.  Her main pride and joy was her role as a wife, mother, daughter and sister.  She spent every waking moment pursuing the health and wellness of her children, Andrew and Jack and her husband, John.  She cherished the time she was able to spend with the four of them together and even quiet times at home. The Armeni siblings’ fondest memories with Sue were their Christmas Eve Italian traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes – where they would get together cooking as a family.  This tradition, started by their father, continues each year.”

Recovery Operation Update #15

Recovery Operation Update #15

Friday, January 6, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

CLEVELAND —  Two vessels are deployed this morning and equipped with sonar, divers and NTSB equipment for search and recovery efforts.

One vessel, the Salvage Chief, headed to specific coordinates and is deploying divers who will utilize the underwater locator beacon detector (ULBD) to move toward the signal. The closer they get, the stronger the signal will be. However, visibility for divers in Lake Erie is maybe 2 – 3 inches, which is what makes the signals so significant to the search. As divers slowly move toward the signals, they will feel around the bottom of the lake for the aircraft. This will be a slow and deliberate process that may take several hours to search even a small area.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will deploy a vessel with crews from Cleveland Fire. Those crews will operate the drop sector sonar scanner to track the divers and get images of the bottom of the lake.

Vessels and crews from other partner agencies are on standby and ready to assist as needed.

Due to below zero wind chills, and snow and ice covered areas, shoreline searches by foot patrols, volunteers and the mounted unit will be limited. As weather permits, the Cleveland Division of Police will do shoreline searches for debris by air. Officers from the Cleveland Division of Police will be dispatched to respond to any reports of debris.

Updates will be posted as they are available on the City’s blog www.clecityhall.com, as well as on Twitter @CityofCleveland and www.facebook.com/CityofCleveland.