6 missing after small plane loses contact over Lake Erie

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A small plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie is registered to a beverage company executive and is based at Ohio State University Airport, the airport’s director told CNN Friday.

The executive’s father, John W. Fleming, told the Columbus Dispatch that his son, John T. Fleming, was at the controls of the Cessna that went missing Thursday night after the pilot, his family and friends attended a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.

“The airplane is based at our airport, it left from the airport and it did not come home last night,” said Doug Hammon, the airport’s director.

Also on board the plane were Fleming’s wife, Suzanne Fleming, 46, their two sons, John Robert, 15, and Andrew Thomas, 14, a neighbor and a neighbor’s daughter, the pilot’s father told the newspaper.

***Embargo Youngstown, Ohio*** A small plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie is registered to a beverage company executive and is based at Ohio State University Airport, the airport's director told CNN Friday. John T. Fleming, his wife, Suzanne Fleming, 46, their two sons, John Robert, 15, and Andrew Thomas, 14, a neighbor and a neighbor's daughter, the pilot's father told the newspaper.

***Embargo Youngstown, Ohio***
A small plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie is registered to a beverage company executive and is based at Ohio State University Airport, the airport’s director told CNN Friday. John T. Fleming, his wife, Suzanne Fleming, 46, their two sons, John Robert, 15, and Andrew Thomas, 14, a neighbor and a neighbor’s daughter, the pilot’s father told the newspaper.

John T. Fleming, an experienced pilot, was taking his family and neighbors to the Cavaliers game as a treat for the holidays, according to his father.

Fleming is president and CEO of Superior Beverage Group, according to his LinkedIn page.

The US Coast Guard and its Canadian counterpart searched the lake Friday, but it was was suspended at 7:30 p.m., spokeswoman Katelyn Waddle said.

***Embargo Youngstown, Ohio*** A small plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie is registered to a beverage company executive and is based at Ohio State University Airport, the airport's director told CNN Friday. John T. Fleming, his wife, Suzanne Fleming, 46, their two sons, John Robert, 15, and Andrew Thomas, 14, a neighbor and a neighbor's daughter, the pilot's father told the newspaper.

***Embargo Youngstown, Ohio***
A small plane believed to have crashed in Lake Erie is registered to a beverage company executive and is based at Ohio State University Airport, the airport’s director told CNN Friday. John T. Fleming, his wife, Suzanne Fleming, 46, their two sons, John Robert, 15, and Andrew Thomas, 14, a neighbor and a neighbor’s daughter, the pilot’s father told the newspaper.

Three adults and three children were on board the aircraft, US Coast Guard Captain Michael Mullen told reporters Friday.

“At this point we believe it’s [members of] two families,” Mullen said of the missing.

The last radar contact with the plane came as it flew about two miles north of the Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport, where it took off, according to Mullen.

*** Embargo: Cleveland-Akron, OH *** The US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

*** Embargo: Cleveland-Akron, OH ***
The US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

The twin-engine Cessna Citation 525 was headed for the university airport in Columbus, Ohio, when it disappeared from radar, a Coast Guard statement said.

“The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from air station Detroit,” the statement said, adding that it had partnered with the Royal Canadian Air Force, which sent a C-130 plane down to assist in the search.

Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay is also on its way from Detroit to help, the Coast Guard said.wews_7d19a790-ce8e-11e6-b0cb-f1c36bc5b896-640x360_1500k-1-thumb

The search operation was being made “very difficult” by 12- to 15-foot waves on Lake Erie, the Coast Guard said.

Air traffic control reported to the Coast Guard at about 11:30 p.m. on Thursday that the plane had just taken off from Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland and “dropped off radar about two miles when it was over Lake Erie,” Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw told CNN.

The missing Cessna has room for up to 11 people, but the plane’s flight plan indicates it had six people on board, Yaw said.

*** Embargo: Cleveland-Akron, OH *** The US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

*** Embargo: Cleveland-Akron, OH ***
The US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

Ohio State University Airport, where the plane was headed, is certified for commercial service and serves as a research and teaching facility. The airport is owned and operated by the Ohio State College of Engineering, according to its website.

 

2 comments

    • SADLY ALL TOO COMMON

      no instrument rating, had been flying since only 2015, so at best he may have had 100 flight hours total maybe, and believe it or not, to operate a jet aircraft above FL 180, you need to be instrument rated and on an IFR flight plan, meaning he intentionally broke the law flying this complex though very nice aircraft beyond his capabilities and experience level. people saying ‘he was an experienced pilot’ need to ask themselves if they would climb on board a plane with a pilot with less than 300 total hours in his logs, one without an instrument rating, in night flight conditions with probability of solid IFR penetration and icing and poor visibility.

      the people who sold this plane bear part of the responsibility. doesn’t matter how wonderful he was, illegally flying this machine he was nowhere close to ready to handle in IFR conditions, was truly a violation of F.A.A. regulations.

      it cost him his life and the lives of 5 others. how very sad. but it happens alot. Thurman Munson, another case of wealthy man with relatively zero experience in a jet plane beyond his experience level. It never ends well.

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