Searchers find Fossett’s plane and human remains
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. ” More than a year after the mysterious disappearance of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, searchers have found the wreckage of his plane in the rugged Sierra Nevada along with enough human remains for DNA testing.
The remains were found amid a field of debris that stretched 400 feet long and 150 feet wide in a steep section of the mountain range, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday at a press conference. Some personal effects also were found at the crash site, but investigators would not describe them in any detail.
“We found human remains, but there’s very little. Given the length of time the wreckage has been out there, it’s not surprising there’s not very much,” said NTSB acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. “I’m not going to elaborate on what it is.”
The 63-year-old thrill-seeker vanished on a solo flight 13 months ago. The mangled debris of his single-engine Bellanca was spotted from the air late Wednesday near the town of Mammoth Lakes and was identified by its tail number. Investigators said the plane had slammed straight into a mountainside.
“It was a hard-impact crash, and he would’ve died instantly,” said Jeff Page, emergency management coordinator for Lyon County, Nev., who assisted in the search.
NTSB investigators went into the mountains Thursday to figure out what caused the plane to go down. Most of the fuselage disintegrated on impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away at an elevation of 9,700 feet, authorities said.
“It will take weeks, perhaps months, to get a better understanding of what happened,” Rosenker said before investigators set off.