Fossett aircraft contains 'minimal' human remains
But enough to provide a DNA sample
Investigators probing the crash site of Steve Fossett's Bellanca Super Decathlon - in mountainous terrain near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, California - have confirmed the wreckage contains "minimal" human remains, but sufficient for DNA identification.
Fosset took off on 3 September 2007 from hotelier Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch, roughly 70 miles southeast of Reno, Nevada, to scout possible lake bed locations for a planned attempt on the world land-speed record. He promptly disappeared, and an extensive search failed to locate him or his aircraft. He was officially declared dead in February this year.
On Monday, hiker Preston Morrow discovered the missing adventurer's pilot's licence with other documentation, clothing and cash at around 10,000ft up in "tough terrain" close to Mammoth Lakes. Search teams from Mono and neighbouring Madera Counties quickly located his aircraft, which was subsequently identified by its "number plate".
Madera County Sheriff John Anderson told media that the aircraft appeared to have hit a mountain head-on. He explained: "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."
Now, however, the matter appears to be settled. According to the BBC, Sir Richard Branson yesterday said of his friend: "The most important thing is that the family know what's happened. He led an extraordinary, absolutely remarkable life, and now we can remember him for what he was and move on."
Fossett's achievements during a long career of daredevil escapades include records for the first solo round-the-world balloon flight and seven fastest-speed sailing titles. Back in 2005, he successfully completed the first solo round-the-world circumnavigation without refuelling in the Virgin GlobalFlyer. After an epic 67 hours in the air, he told Richard Branson: "That was a big one." ®
Missing, or Lost?
It is very unfortunate that so great a man could have died this way but it’s also surprising. The person finding the jacket, cash, ID and other things was right to report it to the authorities but there are still a few loose threads to be tied up.
Animals, insects and natural decay might explain missing biological remains but there must be other evidence such as his footwear, other clothing such as a belt buckle, sunglasses, wrist-watch, rings and other body furniture that would be expected to be on his person. These might have taken by thieves but they would have probably taken other valuables even if they didn’t discover the jacket and wallet. Is it likely that he had a parachute? It seems likely that there would be no good reason for him to need one in his type of aircraft.
For me to agree that he might have ‘done a Reggie Perrin’ would not concur with my ideas about the man – I think it more likely that he touched ground, or was thrown some way away from the crash site and wandered away somewhere – perhaps for many miles. His body or remains may yet be found. If he intended to make a clandestine disappearance then he would be able to do so efficiently and effectively in which case evidence might appear through financial, medical or other channels, if at all.
As far as I’m concerned a body or his remains should be found. Until then the mystery remains extant.
Good luck Steve.
bing, bang, boom
Did you see the photos? The engine was 300' above the rest of it. A body would have been in smaller pieces. Ants, birds and various critters would have left nothing in a week or so. He didn't take a parachute according to the ranch staff. Real hard for a 60 year old to get out the door of a flying aircraft anyway.
You have to admire a guy who took those risks when he could have sat at home counting his money. He died doing what he liked best and it sure beats dying in a hospital with tubes and lawyers.
I didn't get where I am today by confusing John Stonehouse and Reggie Perrin.