CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released audio recordings Monday of air traffic controllers' conversations on the night that a plane carrying six people - including a family of four - crashed into Lake Erie.
The FAA released more than 16 hours of audio recordings to cleveland.com. On the recordings, air traffic controllers and other airport officials can be heard discussing the missing Cessna Citation 525 after it disappeared over Lake Erie on the night of Dec. 29, 2016.
One air traffic controller from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the other, who was stationed at Burke Lakefront, spoke to make sure that the plane had not just dropped off one radar system but in fact had disappeared. The two also decided to call in the necessary officials to initiate a search-and-rescue effort.
You can listen to the conversation between the two controllers in the video above.
In January, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the crash. The report gave a timeline for the plane's takeoff from Burke Lakefront Airport and the subsequent disappearance of the aircraft.
The plane, flown by Ohio beverage distribution company CEO John Fleming, was cleared for takeoff at 10:56 p.m., the NTSB report states. The air traffic controller instructed Fleming to head west but turn back eastbound and maintain an altitude of 2,000 feet.
However, the plane dropped off radar after it turned eastward and reached an altitude of 2,925. About five seconds after the plane's first data point was recorded, the plane quickly descended and disappeared from the radar about 10:57 p.m., the report says.
Fleming, of Columbus, was on the plane with his wife, their two sons and the family's neighbors. The passengers had flown to Cleveland to watch a Cavaliers basketball game.
Searchers worked for weeks to locate debris and human remains from the plane. The city of Cleveland officially ended the search on Jan. 17.
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