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Plane wreckage, pilot's body found south of Lake Camanche

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Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008 10:00 pm

After hours of searching for a small plane that went down near Lake Camanche, searchers found the wreckage Friday morning on the south shore near Highway 12.

The pilot, Walter "Wally" G. Boeck, 67, of Rancho Murieta, was found deceased at the crash site, said Lt. Gary Kuntz with the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office.

Boeck had taken off from Murieta Airport around 4 p.m. Thursday in his Globe Swift GC-1A, flying alongside another plane that was videotaping him.

The two pilots then lost radio contact. The other pilot followed for a time until his plane got low on gas and he had to turn back, notifying officials in the meantime.

Witnesses on both the north and south shores of Lake Camanche saw the plane descend, heard "popping noises" and then saw it drop from sight, said Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Clay Hawkins.

A number of agencies, including the California Highway Patrol and the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, began searching by ground and air.

Meanwhile, investigators spent hours working with the Federal Aviation Administration to try and narrow down the search area by using the locations where witnesses saw the plane,

They also searched nearby airstrips, in case Boeck had managed to pull up and land safely.

Darkness hindered the search, but efforts continued through the night and increased again in the morning light, by air, ground and water units.

Search teams found the small plane at 10 a.m. and confirmed that Boeck, the only occupant of the plane, had died.

The plane was found within 50 yards from the lake's shore near the Highway 12 parkway, Hawkins said. The wreckage was scattered through heavy brush.

Boeck had spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps., retiring as a lieutenant colonel test pilot, according to the Web site for his business and computer consulting firm.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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