Medical examiner works to identify remains from plane crash scene

The NTSB will begin a detailed analysis of the cockpit voice recorder from the business jet that crashed near Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN/AP) – In a press conference Thursday, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner said his office is currently working to positively identify human remains search crews found after a plane crashed into Lake Erie nearly two weeks ago.

On Tuesday, the medical examiner confirmed human remains found during Friday’s dive belong to a man.

“We certainly want to make every effort we can to bring closure to them in this tragedy,” Dr. Thomas Gilson said.

Khalid Bahhur, Burke Lakefront Airport commissioner, said the primary focus throughout the search has always been finding and identifying human remains.

“The testing is complicated because we’re not necessarily dealing with comparisons direct from person-to-person specimen. We’re doing reverse paternity testing, essentially,” Gilson said.

Those on board the Cessna 525 Citation were John and Sue Fleming, Boardman High School graduates, and their kids, Jack and Andrew. Their neighbors, Brian Casey and his daughter, Megan, were also on board.

All six people are presumed dead.

John Fleming was the CEO of Superior Beverage Group. He was piloting the plane when it crashed after taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport following a Cavaliers game on December 29.

Officials have been able to narrow their search area to a 600- by 300-foot section of the lake. The search has been slow because of limited visibility underwater, ice and winds.

“Still a significant amount of area to cover, especially when you know a diver’s connected to an umbilical and he’s at the bottom of the lake with almost zero visibility,” Bahhur said.

Wednesday, divers found more parts of the plane, including the left wing rear pressure bulkhead and the ARRIS box, which records the aircraft’s mechanical information. That was handed over to the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday morning.

“The issue with the ARRIS box, it’s not crash-proof. So we don’t know what kind of information we’re going to be able to receive from the box,” Bahhur said.

Federal investigators said Wednesday search crews found the cockpit voice recorder, which captured the moments before the plane crashed into the water. The National Transportation Safety Board said the recording captured sounds from the entire flight.

The agency said it will begin a detailed analysis of the recording.

So far, divers have also found part of the fuselage, several seats and an engine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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