"Federal investigators say they found body parts amid the wreckage of missing adventurer Steve Fossett's airplane in the mountains of eastern California.
The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, said Thursday that searchers found enough at the crash site of Fossett's plane to provide coroners with DNA. They were found amid a field of debris that stretched 400 feet long and 150 feet wide in a steep section of the mountain range.
"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 National Transportation Safety Board acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. "I'm not going to elaborate on what it is. (in other words, they found just his head.)"
"It was a hard-impact crash, and he would've died instantly," said Jeff Page, emergency management coordinator for Lyon County, Nev., who assisted the search.
Fossett's mysterious disappearance prompted a massive search that covered 20,000 square miles — and sparked rumors that he faked his own death because he was buried in debt.
Crews confirmed about 11 p.m. Wednesday that the tail number matched the one on the single-engine Bellanca Fossett flew, according to Anderson.
The news came after federal transportation officials from the NTSB headed to California Thursday morning to retrieve the plane debris found in a mountainous, wooded area and join the investigation.
Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB, said the agency has reviewed photographs of the site and confirmed "it appears to be consistent with a nonsurvivable accident."
The NTSB would bring in a private contractor to help with recovery of the airplane, Rosenker said. "It will take weeks, perhaps months, to get a better understanding of what happened," he said.
The discovery of the decimated fixed-wing plane came days after a local hiker stumbled upon some of Fossett's personal effects — including his pilot's license and FAA cards.
Anderson said the plane was found about a quarter-mile from where the items turned up, and authorities had not yet determined whether the sweatshirt that was with the documents belonged to 63-year-old Fossett.
In total, about 50 searches were planned in the coming days, according to the sheriff.
"We're certainly going to do an extensive search for remains," he said."And about time.
Good Lord, but these people are the living embodiment of ineptitude. They searched, and searched, used the all but useless cadaver dogs, etc, and in their 'expert' opinion there simply wasn't any wreck to be found. Give up, say its just too much area, apologize to everyone involved and fess up that you gave it the old college try but no dice.
Nah. Better to blame the poor dead dude for hiding so well.
Uh huh. Remind me if I ever turn up missing, to ask the wife to be sure and send hikers to the general vicinity. They stand a lot better chance of finding anything worthwhile.