UPDATE: NTSB Report Confirms 3 of 6 Victims in Lake Erie Plane Crash

January 24, 2017
Abram I. Bohrer

The airplane accident lawyers at Bohrer & Lukeman are continuing to monitor the events surrounding the tragic events surrounding this December 29th general aviation Lake Erie airplane crash. Shortly after a 10:56 p.m. takeoff from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, the Cessna 525C Citation CJ4 twin engine executive jet vanished from radar over Lake Erie. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the disappearance and has issued a preliminary report.

According to the report, search crews recovered the remains of three bodies from Lake Erie over a two-week period. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has identified these remains as pilot John T. Fleming, 45, his son Jack Robert Fleming, 15, and family friend Brian Sean Casey, 50.

The other passengers onboard were logged as Suzanne, John’s wife; Andrew Thomas, their other son; and Casey’s daughter, Megan. Their remains were not recovered. Official recovery efforts have been called off as of Tues, January 17th.

The report states that the tower traffic controller at Burke Lakefront Airport instructed Fleming to turn eastbound and maintain an altitude of 2,000 feet after clearing the turbofan-powered twin-engine jet for takeoff at 10:56 p.m. on December 29th. Fleming acknowledged these instructions but quickly rose to an altitude of 2,925 feet. Five seconds later, the plane began to descend rapidly. The last data point recorded by the tower registered the jet’s altitude at just 775 feet. It was recorded at 10:57pm, just one minute after the initial takeoff. The cause of the rapid descent is still unknown.

Though impeded by weather and water conditions, the search and recovery teams were able to locate the cockpit voice recorder, as well as debris from the airplane, roughly 0.10 miles northeast of the final data point. The recorder has been transferred to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory. A detailed examination of the wreckage will be underway shortly now that recovery efforts have come to an end.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that Fleming had received single-pilot certification on October 15, 2015, shortly after purchasing the jet involved in the accident. He completed the FAA’s practical flight test on December 8th, 2016, just three weeks before the tragic incident.

The airplane accident attorneys at Bohrer & Lukeman will continue to follow closely the events surrounding the Lake Erie plane crash and update its website with any new information as it is released. Bohrer & Lukeman is an aviation accident law-firm with years of experience representing those injured or killed in general and commercial aviation accidents. Aviation lawyer Abe Bohrer, the New York-based law firm’s founder, has successfully represented the victims of both general and commercial aviation accidents both domestically and internationally.

Read the full NTSB report here: