The U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for a plane carrying six people that rapidly lost altitude after taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland and vanished from radar 2 miles over Lake Erie late Thursday.
Why remains unclear. Coast Guard Captain Michael Mullen says officials are no longer expecting to find any survivors. The Guard had been using planes, helicopters and a 140-foot-long cutter in searching a 128-square-mile area in the lake. The occupants of the Cessna Citation were heading to Ohio State University's Don Scott Field after they attended a Cleveland Cavaliers game. Relatives say the chief executive of a Columbus-based beverage distribution company was piloting the plane. The parents of Superior Beverage Group executive John T. Fleming confirmed he was the pilot. Fleming's father says the other five people onboard were Fleming's wife, two teenage sons, a neighbor and the neighbor's daughter. John W. Fleming also described his son as "an experienced pilot." Federal records show Fleming's pilot's license was last updated in January of 2015. Records do not show how long he had been a pilot. He was licensed to fly single-and multi-engine planes, as well as helicopters. Company executive Joseph McHenry says in a statement he and others are working to support the families.