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Search Ending for Remains in Lake Erie Plane Crash

by Phil Helsel /
Image: A boat carrying a recovery in search of a missing plane carrying six people team rides on the shoreline of Lake Erie on Jan. 3, 2017, in Cleveland, Ohio.
A boat carrying a recovery in search of a missing plane carrying six people team rides on the shoreline of Lake Erie on Jan. 3, 2017, in Cleveland, Ohio.Tony Dejak / AP

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Crews on Tuesday will end a search for the bodies of some of six people aboard a small jet that crashed in Lake Erie near Cleveland, officials said.

"This was a very difficult decision to make and not one that was made or taken lightly," Burke Lakefront Airport Commissioner Khalid Bahhur told reporters.

DNA from some remains recovered were matched to three people aboard the Cessna Citation 525, which lost contact with air traffic controllers minutes after taking off at around 11 p.m. on Dec. 29.

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Columbus beverage company CEO John T. Fleming; his wife, Sue; their sons Jack and Andrew; and a neighbor and his daughter have been identified as those aboard.

Search crews used a National Safety Transportation Board underwater beacon locator detector to zero in on the wreckage, and the aircraft’s cockpit data recorder and large pieces of debris have been recovered, Bahhur said. He said conditions in the water made it unlikely more remains would be found.

The twin-engine jet was headed to Ohio State University Airport in Columbus following a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game when it lost contact and crashed, officials have said.

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