Remains Found With Wreckage Of Millionaire's Plane

Investigators in California's Sierra Nevada have found what are believed to be human remains amid the wreckage of a small aircraft piloted by adventurer Steve Fossett.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that small bone fragments were discovered at the site in the rugged Inyo National Forest.

DNA tests were expected to determine whether the remains are those of Fossett. It appears that the plane hit a mountain at the 10,000-foot level. Crews were moving quickly to remove the wreckage as a snow storm was headed toward the region.

Fossett vanished in Sept. 2007 during a solo flight. An extensive search at the time was unsuccessful. The search resumed this week after a hiker discovered some identification cards. The items were found a short distance from the wreckage.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Thursday that an aerial search of the region near the town of Mammoth Lakes late Wednesday revealed the crash site. They confirmed around 11 p.m. that the tail number matched Fossett's single-engine Bellanca plane, he said.

Hiker Finds Fossett's ID

Teams began searching the area after a hiker found ID belonging to Fossett on Monday. The hiker said he found a Federal Aviation Administration identity card, a pilot's license, a third ID and $1,005 cash tangled in a bush off a trail just west of the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Fossett, 63, disappeared in September 2007, after taking off from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton. The plane crashed about 90 miles south of the ranch. He did not file a flight plan, but friends said he was going on a casual pleasure flight.

In the weeks after Fossett went missing, there were extensive land and air searches, but no wreckage was found. He was declared legally dead in February.

Fossett made a fortune trading futures and options on Chicago markets. He gained worldwide fame for more than 100 attempts and successes in setting records in high-tech balloons, gliders, jets and yachts. In 2002, he became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon.

From NPR and wire reports

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