6 missing after small plane loses contact over Lake Erie

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US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — The US Coast Guard was searching Friday for a small plane that went missing Thursday night over Lake Erie shortly after takeoff from Cleveland.

Six people were on board the twin-engine Cessna Citation 525 that was headed for the Ohio State University airport, a Coast Guard statement said.

Three adults and three children were on board the aircraft, CNN affiliate WEWS reported. All had attended the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game Thursday night before flying out of the city, WEWS reported.

“The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from air station Detroit and has partnered with the Canadian Coast Guard who sent a C-130 plane down to assist in the search,” the statement said.

Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay is also on its way from Detroit to help, the Coast Guard said.

The search operation was being made “very difficult” by 12- to 15-foot waves on Lake Erie, the Coast Guard said.

Air traffic control reported to the Coast Guard about 11:30 p.m. Thursday that the plane had just taken off from Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland and “dropped off radar about two miles when it was over Lake Erie,” Coast Guard Petty Officer II Class Christopher Yaw told CNN.

The missing Cessna has room for up to 11 people, but the plane’s flight plan had six people on board, Yaw said.