FOLSOM - While the dramatic drop in the level of Folsom Lake is leading to unprecedented water restrictions downstream, it is also offering hope that the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the lake 49 years ago might finally be recovered.
"It has eaten away at me for a long time," said Frank Wilcox, whose brother, Glen, was among four people killed in the crash on New Year's Day in 1965.
Glen was a star athlete in his freshman year at Roseville High School and joined a friend for his first plane ride-- a sightseeing flight over Folsom Lake.
Glen was in a red and white Piper Comanche that took off from Phoenix Field in Fair Oaks.
Friday January 1, 1965 was an exceptionally clear day in Sacramento County, but at approximately 12:30 p.m. the Comanche collided with a Beechcraft Debonair, which was also on a sightseeing flight out of Sacramento Municipal (now Executive) Airport.
An official NTSB crash report blamed both pilots for failing to see one another.
The tail of the Debonair was damaged by the impact but the pilot managed to return for a safe landing in Sacramento.
The Comanche, however, lost most of its right wing and plunged into the lake from an altitude of about 2,500 feet.
One body was recovered from the lake, but the wreckage with the three other occupants inside, including Glen, went to the bottom.
A Roseville Press-Tribune article from 1965 listed the other victims as James Marshall, Ford Marshall and Helen Gotcher.
Frank believes the wreckage is located about two miles north of the dam and he's made multiple trips to the site during periods of low water.
Frank and his 11-year-old son, Shane, drove to the water's edge Monday from the Granite Bay access to take a look.
"For the past two weeks it has consumed me," he said.
Predictions that the level could soon reach an historic low have given Frank hope that his brother and the other victims might finally be given a proper burial.
"It would be nice if we could bring some closure to it," he said.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net