Just a few days after a hiker found missing adventurer/financier Steve Fossett’s I.D. and cash, an aerial search crew found the wreckage of his plane in the mountains near Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Ground crews scrambled to the area confirmed that the wrecked plane was indeed Fossett’s single-engine Bellanca.
On Monday, hiker Preston Morrow found Fossett’s Illinois-issued Federal Aviation Administration identification, his pilot’s license, a ragged fleece and about $1,005 in cash. The discovery led rescue personnel to launch a new search, and after discovering the badly damaged wreckage, officials speculated that the plane could’ve slammed directly into the mountainside.
“The crash looked so severe I doubt if someone would have walked away from it,” (Madera County Sheriff John Anderson) Anderson told reporters. “There was no body in the plane. We have not found any human remains at the crash site.”
50 searchers and five dog teams will continue searching the area for human remains before this weekend’s expected snowfall, which could halt any recovery operations until next year. The National Transportation Safety Board will send an investigator to the scene today.
Fossett disappeared Sept. 3 after taking of from Barron Hilton’s private ranch, approximately 117 miles from the crash site. Friends theorized Fossett was scouting for dry lake beds to attempt a new land-speed record.
UPDATE: Search teams have found a small amount of human remains at Fossett’s crash site. Coroners are expected to begin DNA analysis.
— Ted Alvarez
Wreck of Steve Fossett’s plane discovered: police (AFP)