US Coast Guard crews searched Lake Erie today for a plane carrying six people that disappeared shortly after takeoff from a small Cleveland airport along the shore.The Columbus-bound Cessna Citation 525 departed Burke Lakefront Airport late yesterday with three children and three adults aboard and vanished from radar about 2 miles over the lake. Why remains unclear.
Searchers had found no sign of any debris or the people aboard the plane as of today morning, the agency said. Coast Guard official James Cox in Buffalo, New York, also said no emergency beacon had been detected.
Weather prevented a boat search overnight, but a US Coast Guard helicopter and a Canadian air crew in a plane were being used. A ship also was headed from Detroit to help with the search.
The waters in the search area are about 50 feet deep, the Coast Guard said.
The plane left the airport at 10:50 PM, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said. The Coast Guard has said it was notified about the missing plane by air traffic control around 11:30 PM.
The plane was headed to Ohio State University Airport northwest of downtown Columbus. Cox said the plane is kept at a hangar at the airfield, but the six people aboard the aircraft aren’t affiliated with OSU. Their names weren’t released, pending notification of their families.
Petty Officer Joel Altman, a public affairs officer in Cleveland with the Ninth Coast Guard District, said he couldn’t immediately confirm whether the passengers were related or provide the ages of the children.