Recovery Operations Update #22

January 13, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Today, the Salvage Chief headed out onto the water around 7:30 a.m. At approximately 8:00 a.m. a decision was made to return to shore based on water conditions.  The water was very choppy and it was not safe for the crews or divers to be in the water today. Shoreline searches by foot and air continue as weather permits.

Additional debris was collected yesterday and confirmed to belong to the aircraft. That debris included the right wing, a larger portion of the fuselage, and smaller pieces of debris. The total number of debris is now around 270.

In addition, we can confirm that the medical examiner has collected additional possible human remains for review and analysis. The Medical Examiner’s Office has not confirmed the identities or the number of individuals to which the remains belong.  As he explained yesterday, every item they are dispatched to collect is processed individually. They then do DNA testing to confirm whether the remains collected belong to one individual or multiple individuals. The family is closely involved in this process and we ask that you continue to respect them during this difficult time.

Tomorrow, if water conditions allow, vessels and crews will run a tow fish sonar over the debris field. This will be done to gather data and identify locations of the remaining debris. Sonar images will be analyzed over the weekend and used to create a targeted dive plan that is expected to resume on Tuesday morning.  If weather conditions allow divers in the water on Tuesday, they will examine the remaining debris to see if it needs to be recovered. The priority of the recovery efforts are human remains. The secondary priority is additional debris from the aircraft.

Tomorrow afternoon between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. a Gun Salute, with six shots, will be fired from the USS Cod in honor and memory of the six passengers aboard the aircraft. 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 and grieve for their loved ones, especially as they host memorials for their families again this weekend.

Investigators will respond to any reports of debris on the shoreline over the weekend.

The City’s next update will be provided on Tuesday.

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 closure.