image copyrightJustin Sullivan

As a severe drought in California dries out lakes across the state, officials have found the remains of what they believe to be a 1960s plane crash.

The discovery last week may have helped solve a long-standing mystery.

The plane matches the description of the Piper Comanche 250, which went missing on New Year's Day 1965.

A underwater surveying company testing equipment in Folsom Lake near Sacramento found the fully intact plane in one of the lake's deepest points.

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The 1965 crash killed all four people on board, including the pilot. The pilot's body was recovered but the bodies of the three passengers were never retrieved, despite continued search efforts up until 2014.

The survey company, Seafloor Systems, first picked up the mysterious object on a sonar device.

"I saw something that wasn't normal," Tyler Atkinson, a Seafloor Systems employee, told local CBS News affiliate KOVR.

A closer inspection revealed the object to be a plane. It was the historically low water level in the lake that allowed the team to take clear photos of the plane's tale and propeller.

The local sheriff's office will now need to decided whether the plan can be recovered. No investigation is currently under way, according to KOVR.

Folsom Lake's water level is currently at 38% of normal capacity as a result of a punishing drought across the state. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 of the state's 58 counties, including the three counties that surround the lake.

media captionCould this be California's worst year for drought?