Press Conference: Recovery Operations

Press Conference: Recovery Operations

January 12, 2017 @ 12:15 PM


Left to right: Director of Port Control Robert Kennedy, Director of Public Safety Michael McGrath, Commissioner of Burke Khalid Bahhur, Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson, and Mayor Frank G. Jackson.


Commissioner Khalid Bahhur started today’s press conference about the recovery operations for the Cessna 525 Citation by stating, “At the center of this search and recovery operation are family members grieving the loss of their loved ones. We again ask that you continue to respect them during this difficult time.”

Yesterday, crews recovered what appeared to be human remains. Dr. Gilson, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, confirmed that remains collected yesterday are of human origin, but that at this time there is no further information about those remains.  The Medical Examiner’s Office met with the family this morning to explain how the DNA identification process works.  Dr. Gilson stated, “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.”  The Medical Examiner’s Office will continue efforts to further identify the remains that they have collected.

Yesterday, crews recovered several significant pieces of debris that we can now confirm belong to the aircraft including: Rear pressure bulk head, Left hand wing, engine cowling (the metal that covers the engine) and the rear stabilizer bar. The ARES box, which records mechanical information from the flight, was also recovered and its contents were given to the FAA and the NTSB for processing. The NTSB will provide information regarding its investigation.

Today, there are two vessels on the water. One from Cleveland Division of Fire and one from Underwater Marine Contractors.

The Cleveland Fire vessel will be using side scanning sonar to go over a narrowed portion of the search area that is approximately, 600 x 300 ft. This area is believed to be the central part of the debris field based on the amount of debris that has been collected from the bottom of the lake. The side scanning sonar will be used to get imaging of the bottom of the lake and locate possible debris in this area. Divers will then enter the water in areas where there appears to be debris to investigate and recover anything that appears related to this investigation.


The darker section in the light blue area is the refined search area

Divers and Cleveland Fire personnel with a sector sonar are aboard the Salvage Chief. The sector sonar takes images of the bottom of the lake as well as track divers and guides them to possible debris locations. Today, divers are recovering debris that will vary in size, but are believed to belong to the aircraft. To date, approximately 250 pieces of debris have been collected. As we have done throughout this investigation, debris that is recovered will be vetted by investigators. Once investigators confirm that debris is relevant to this investigation, the family will be briefed and then the information shared with the media and the public.