Coroner: Remains could belong to Delaware Co. residents

By Joe Mandak - Associated Press

Remains found by someone fishing in Lake Erie might belong to one of three victims unaccounted for in a plane crash that killed six Delaware County residents just off the Cleveland shore last year, a Pennsylvania coroner said Friday.

Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook hopes DNA tests will identify the leg found about 8 p.m. Thursday near the Elk Creek Access to the lake, in Lake City, about 80 miles northeast of Cleveland.

The lake’s currents flow toward Pennsylvania and it’s not uncommon for remains from as far away as Detroit and Cleveland to wash up along the Pennsylvania shoreline, Cook said.

The Dec. 29 crash killed six people, but the remains of only three have been found: pilot John Fleming, 45, of Dublin, Ohio; his 15-year-old son, Jack; and a family friend, Brian Casey, 50, of Powell, Ohio.

The bodies of Fleming’s wife, 46-year-old Sue; their 14-year-old son, Andrew; and Casey’s daughter, 19-year-old Megan, could not be recovered. Cleveland officials searched for their remains for about three weeks.

The victims were flying back to Columbus after attending a Cleveland Cavaliers game when the plane crashed.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board said John Fleming, a Columbus businessman, had received a certification to fly the Cessna Citation 525 just 21 days before the crash. The NTSB report didn’t indicate why the plane suddenly lost altitude and crashed about a minute after taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport shortly before 11 o’clock that night.

Airplane debris including the cockpit voice recorder was recovered. Federal Aviation Administration records show Fleming purchased the plane in October.

By Joe Mandak

Associated Press