UPDATE: Body of Pilot recovered in Lake Palestine - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Body of Pilot recovered in Lake Palestine

Sidescan sonar photos obtained by KLTV 7 reveal the plane submerged in Lake Palestine. Sidescan sonar photos obtained by KLTV 7 reveal the plane submerged in Lake Palestine.
LAKE PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -

In these choppy, bitter cold waters is where authorities have been searching for days. Friday authorities recovered the small plane belonging to Fred Scholz. This morning the search for the missing pilot came to an end.

Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan told us, "We located him on the dam. On the rocks."

It was on the rocks of the Blackburn Crossing Dam that the body of Scholz was discovered just before 8 o'clock this morning. He was found about a mile from where his plane went down.

Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan told us, "We started gathering here this morning and of course...first thing we normally do is check the shorelines."

Captain game warden Gary Dugan says a worker with the river authority spotted Scholz on the bank of the dam. And with the current conditions. He says they knew this area was likely the place where Scholz would be found.

Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan told us, "That's the first thing we look at is where the wind direction blows at during the night, and that's where we looked at this morning."

Authorities say when the aircraft was discovered submerged under 17 and a half feet of water, the cockpit door was open leading them to believe Scholz had escaped. But, without a life jacket and a water temperature around 50 degrees, authorities were hoping for a search and rescue but prepared for a search and recovery.

Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan told us, "The weather conditions and the cold always hamper our results this time of year. We're fortunate we found him within three days."

Authorities spent the morning notifying family, family of a pilot who we're told died doing what he loved.

 


 

 

UPDATE: Officials tell KLTV that the body of the pilot has been recovered near the dam on Lake Palestine.

Officials said the body of the pilot, now identified as Fred Scholz, washed ashore sometime overnight and was found near the Blackburn Crossing Dam on the southern end of Lake Palestine.

Members of the community told KLTV 7 the Scholz family split time between a residence up north and one in Berryville.


Officials with the Department of Public Safety say they're calling in more resources to assist in the search for the pilot. They added that no time limit is being placed on the search, and DPS teams will say as long as Game Wardens believes there's a chance the pilot will be found.

The plane was reportedly spotted Wednesday night by Henderson County Sheriff's Deputies and Anderson County Deputies responded calling in crews from Texas Parks and Wildlife and dive teams.

FAA officials said the plane, a single-engine Varga aircraft, was reported missing after it never landed in Berryville, TX.

The plane is registered to Fred & Dorothy Scholz who have a Frankston address, but DPS officials say the pilot is from Berryville.

FAA officials say the pilot was the only one on board. It is not known who was on board.

DPS Troopers say the plane stopped in Jacksonville to refuel before going on to Berryville.

Sidescan sonar photos obtained by KLTV 7 News reveal the plane is submerged in 15-20 feet of water. DPS officials say the plane was found on its belly, submerged in 17 and a half feet of water. Game Wardens tell KLTV that officials located the plane and found the door was open.

No body was found in the plane, and officials say the pilot escaped the harness in the cockpit, reportedly underwater, Game Warden Captain Gary Dugan said.

Authorities expanded their search to the shoreline on Thursday and a DPS helicopter is circling the lake searching for the man.

In total, one dive team and three search boats are involved in the rescue efforts on the water.

Game Wardens said nothing has been ruled out. Officials are still treating this as a search and rescue, however, as time goes on, it may turn into a search and recovery.

DPS officials added that the pilot was in excellent physical condition.

Authorities say the plane is intact, with very little damage; there appears to be no broken glass.

As a precaution, the FAA shut off the fuel pump the pilot last used in Jacksonville. DPS says this precaution was taken in case there is something wrong with the fuel. After conducting an investigation into the fuel, the FAA determined the gas was in excellent condition. The pump has since been reactivated.

The plane was recovered from the waters of Lake Palestine on Friday.

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