LAKE ERIE ACCIDENT Officials: Pilot fatigued before fatal plane crash

Associated Press


A pilot’s fatigue and his possible confusion over his plane’s autopilot mode are among reasons cited for a 2016 crash over Lake Erie near Cleveland that killed six, including the pilot, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded Monday.

Some of pilot John Fleming’s confusion may be attributable to his unfamiliarity with the panel layout of the plane he was flying Dec. 29, 2016, which was different than the plane he had previously flown, the NTSB said.

Fleming had been awake nearly 17 hours at the time of the flight, according to the NTSB. The flight was a planned return trip home to Columbus after a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.

“As a result, the pilot was likely fatigued which hindered his ability to manage the high workload environment, maintain an effective instrument scan, provide prompt and accurate control inputs, and to respond to multiple bank angle and descent rate warnings,” the NTSB concluded in the eight-page report.

The crash killed six people, including three found soon after: 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, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, weren’t immediately found.

Fleming, chief executive of a Youngstown-started beverage distribution company, Superior Beverage Co., and his wife were Boardman natives and his parents live in Canfield.

In an earlier report, the NTSB said that Fleming, a Columbus beverage exec had received a certification to fly the Cessna Citation 525 just 21 days before the crash.

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