Fossett Wreckage Found in Madera County

October 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Early Thursday morning the Madera County Sheriff confirmed wreckage spotted by a flight crew last night is Steve Fossett's plane.The twisted metal was found near Minarets Summit in eastern Madera County. Experts say it is highly unlikely that Fossett could have survived the crash.

About 50 searchers and 5 canine teams are in the mountains right now looking for Steve Fossett's remains. And now National Transportation Safety Board officials have headed to the crash site to get their first look the wreckage and another clue in this year old mystery.

The wreckage was spotted by a Yosemite National Park helicopter crew Wednesday evening just before the search for more evidence of Steve Fosset and his plane was about to end for the night.

A 12 person ground crew in the Mammoth Lakes area was then sent in for a closer look.

"They got the GPS coordinates from the aircraft, they went in and they did locate an aircraft which we've now confirmed is the one Steve Fossett was flying when it disappeared last labor day," said Madera County Sheriff John Anderson.

But Sheriff John Anderson said no sign of Fossett's body was found in or near the aircraft.

The adventurer disappeared in September of 2007 after he took off in the single engine plane from Nevada. He was supposed to be heading toward Bishop California, about 40 miles from the Minarets Summit area where the wreckage was found.

"It crashed in a somewhat of a horizontal plateau or piece of the mountain side, and it skipped upwards, disintegrating the plane," said Mono County Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger.

The crash site is only about a quarter of a mile from where a hiker first spotted three of Fossett's ids and about $1,000 dollars in cash on Monday.

"I'm happy I was there to help, I'm happy I could be a stepping stone," said hiker Preston Morrow.

Now as search teams and cadaver dogs head back into the mountains to search for Fossets remains, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has arrived to investigate what may have caused the crash.

"We have a contractor that will be attempting to pick up parts of the aircraft by helicopter beginning tomorrow morning, we hope to have that mission complete by tomorrow," said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker.

The NTSB said it could take weeks or even months before they have any answers about the cause of the crash and Sheriff Anderson said the search effort may be put on hold by a storm that's expected to move into this area as soon as Thursday Night.



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