Searchers find wreckage possibly belonging to Fossett

Other News Materials 2 October 2008 17:58 (UTC +04:00)

Search teams looking for millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett may have found the wreckage of the plane he was flying when he disappeared more than a year ago, reported CNN.

The Madera County, California, Sheriff's Department said the wreckage was spotted Wednesday during an aerial search of the area where a hiker had discovered identification with the missing aviator's name.

According to The Associated Press, Preston Morrow said he found three identification cards with Fossett's name and about $1000 in cash Monday tangled in a bush just west of the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Erica Stuart, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said a ground crew will be dispatched to make a definite determination on the wreckage. The sheriff is expected to reveal more information on Thursday.

"We're not certain that it belongs to Steve Fossett, but it certainly has his name on the ID," said Mammoth Lakes, California, Police Chief Randy Schienle. Video Watch police chief describe hiker's discovery "

Schienle said a sweatshirt was also found in the area.

Fossett was last seen on the morning of September 3, 2007, when he took off from the Flying-M Ranch outside Minden, Nevada, on a "pleasure flight" over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in a single-engine plane. He was carrying one bottle of water and had no parachute.

Fossett had planned to fly over the Nevada desert for two to three hours before returning for lunch at the ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

When Fossett failed to return, a search began that ultimately included thousands of volunteers, hundreds of officials and dozens of aircraft that scoured an area more than twice the size of New Jersey.

The search was officially suspended on October 2, 2007. A Chicago, Illinois, probate court judge declared Fossett dead in February.

Fossett made his money in the financial services industry, but he is renowned for his daredevil exploits, which include non-stop, round-the-world trips aboard a balloon, a fixed-wing plane and a boat.

Fossett was the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon, accomplishing the feat in 2002, and the first to fly a plane around the world solo without refueling, which he did in 2005. He also set world records in round-the-world sailing and cross-country skiing.