CEO, family aboard plane that went missing over Lake Erie

CLEVELAND - Rescue crews searched Lake Erie on Friday, Dec. 30, for signs of a twin-engine plane carrying six people that went missing on Thursday night soon after taking off from an Ohio airport, officials said.The 11-seat aircraft dropped off r...


CLEVELAND - A small plane carrying the chief executive of an Ohio-based liquor distribution company and his wife and sons disappeared over Lake Erie shortly after taking off on Thursday night near Cleveland, the company said on Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search on Friday evening and the official overseeing the operation offered condolences to the friends of family of those aboard the plane.

John Fleming, 46, president and chief executive of Superior Beverage Group, his wife, Sue, their sons Jack and Andrew, and two close friends were aboard the plane, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The two boys were 15 and 14 years old, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

"This is a difficult day for us, and we appreciate the concern and thoughtfulness extended by so many," Joseph McHenry, company executive vice president, said.


The 11-seat aircraft dropped off radar just before 11 p.m. local time on Thursday after leaving Burke Lakefront Airport on the shore of Lake Erie north of downtown Cleveland, U.S. Coast Guard Chief of Response Michael Mullen told a news conference on Friday.

The Cessna Citation 525, bound for Ohio State University Airport, disappeared after flying about two miles over the lake, Mullen said.

Fleming, is believed to have been piloting the plane, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The group was returning to Columbus after attending the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game against the Boston Celtics, the Dispatch reported.

Coast Guard crews searched with boats, a helicopter and fixed-wing plane over a section of Lake Erie that is about 50 feet deep, Mullen said, adding that there were no signs of debris.

What To Read Next
Get Local