Workers examining Scuba Gear say they have found the wreckage of a small plane deep in Lake Folsom, California, and may have solved the 56-year-old plane mystery.
Seafloor Systems environmental technologist Jeff Riley told CNN that sonar images show the plane’s exterior covered in a thick layer, about 50 meters below the surface of the lake.
Riley said they first realized there might be something when analyzing data collected by their colleague Tyler Atkinson while testing a small unmanned survey boat. Seafloor Systems is a research firm specializing in mapping maritime areas.
Debris was found due to the low water level of Lake Folsom due to severe drought conditions affecting most of western America. The lake is located 40 kilometers northeast of Sacramento.
“I saw something that wasn’t normal,” Atkinson said.
They returned to the area with the remote control mini-sub, but could not get a good look because the visibility was only six or six inches, Riley said.
The team assembled a sonar unit on the submarine and returned earlier this week, Riley said, adding that by the time they came down, the rubble was “as clear as day.”
Riley said they were able to collect images of the plane’s tail and propeller, and that they seemed to fit in with the description of a plane that crashed in 1965.
A Piper Cochrane 250 crashed into the lake on New Year’s Day.
The pilot’s body was recovered, but authorities never found the plane or the three passengers.
Authorities tried to locate the plane in 2014, but failed after a three-day search.
Riley said Seiflur Systems collected GPS coordinates from the rubble to help with the rescue effort.