Chuck Herndon grabbed his boat when he saw the small plane crash into Lake Erie and quickly rowed out to try to help. A father and his two young sons had been aboard the plane when it took off minutes earlier from the island's airport.

"I heard this faint cry and followed it," Herndon recalled Tuesday.

About a half-mile off shore, a 7-year-old boy pulled himself into the boat.

"He said, 'My father and my brother were killed in a plane crash,' just like that," Herndon said.

The boy's father and 9-year-old brother were still missing Tuesday, a day after their single-engine plane went down around 9:30 p.m., said Chief Petty Officer Robert Lanier in Cleveland.

Rescuers and divers from nearby communities and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources searched for the plane's wreckage Tuesday and any sign of survivors in an area where debris and floating oil were spotted. Divers had been in the water Monday night and went back in after daybreak Tuesday.

The Coast Guard said the 1962 Cessna 172C Skyhawk was piloted by a 46-year-old man from the western Ohio city of Lima, but officials did not release the occupants' names.

Kelleys Island is about 60 miles east of Toledo.