Feeds

Crashed aircraft is Fossett's, authorities confirm

'Number plate' identifies adventurer's Bellanca Super Decathalon

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Updated Authorities have confirmed that the crashed Bellanca Super Decathalon in the mountains of eastern California is that of Steve Fossett, although the wreckage contains no body.

A hiker on Monday found Fosset's ID documents, including his pilot and glider licences and his membership card for the National Aeronautic Association. The discovery led to a renewed search for the missing adventurer, which earlier today resulted in the location of the wrecked aircraft.

Preston Morrow, store manager of Kittredge Sports in Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, California, was hiking with his dog in the Inyo National Forest in neighbouring Madera County, some 140 miles south of Reno when he stumbled across the licences, as well as clothing and cash.

Fosset was last seen on 3 September 2007 at hotelier Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch, roughly 70 miles southeast of Reno, when he took off in his Bellanca Super Decathalon to reccy possible locations for a planned attempt on the world land-speed record. An extensive search failed to locate him or the remains of his aircraft, and he was officially declared dead in February this year.

According to Morrow's boss, Tom Cage, the items - including a "weathered Nautica brand sweatshirt" plus ten $100 bills and a $5 bill" - were at an elevation of 10,100 feet, two miles east of a range of jagged peaks dubbed the Minarets and "about six miles into some very tough terrain".

Cage explained: "Preston didn't realize what he found until the next day. He just thought he was taking some trash out of the wilderness, so he took it home, watched Monday night football and didn't look at it again until the next day."

Once they realised the significance of the finds, Morrow and his wife retured to the site on Tuesday "to search for more items and to get GPS coordinates". They then presented Mammoth Lakes Police Department with the evidence and coordinates.

Ground search teams from Mono and Madera Counties yesterday scoured the area for possible aircraft remains, assisted by helicopters and an aircraft from the California Highway Patrol. Just before dusk, an aerial spotter sighted "what appeared to be wreckage of an airplane".

Madera County sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart said late last night: "Our teams are going in to that area, and we hope to know whether it is really plane wreckage, and if it is Fossett's or someone else's, by morning."

The operation was successful, and the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed this morning that searchers had located a crashed Bellanca Super Decathlon near Mammoth Lakes. It was later identified by a "number plate" as Fossett's.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson explained that the aircraft appeared to have hit a mountain head-on. He said: "The crash looked so severe I doubt if someone would have walked away from it. There was no body in the plane. We have not found any human remains at the crash site."

Anderson added around 50 people and dog teams would now search the area for a possible body. He did, however, caution: "It's quite often if you don't find remains within a few days, because of animals, you'll find nothing at all."

The Mammoth Lakes region was last year subjected to a brief aerial survey, "based on an unconfirmed reported sighting of Fossett's plane in the area" - without result. However, he was known to fly along the route of Highway 395, which "passes close to Mammoth Lakes as it snakes from Canada to the Mojave Desert".

While Fossett had been searching for dry lake beds, and the lakes in the area being searched are "generally filled with water", US Forest Service spokeswoman Nancy Upham explained "there are dry lake beds in the Nevada mountains not far to the east". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.