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January 29, 2015

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Search begins anew for adventurer Steve Fossett near Mammoth Lakes

Some items found, but no wreckage or body, authorities say


Google Map

The markers show the location of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. The larger terrain map shows the rugged area nearby where items belonging to adventurer Steve Fossett were found Tuesday. Searchers had been looking for Fossett since his plane disappeared on Sept. 3, 2007. Fossett was declared dead by an Illinois judge on Feb. 15.

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008 | 4:07 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

The marker indicates where items belonging to adventurer Steve Fossett were found Tuesday in California. Searchers had been looking for him since his plane disappeared on Sept. 3, 2007. Fossett was declared dead by an Illinois judge on Feb. 15.

A Nevada Department of Public Services employee is helping interagency authorities at a command post in California's Mammoth Lakes in the search for adventurer Steve Fossett in the rugged backcountry near Mammoth Mountain.

At this time, California has not asked for any other assets from Nevada, said department spokesman Dan Burns.

Law enforcement agencies from Mammoth Lakes, Mono and Madera Counties, Calif., are mounting ground and air searches after papers and clothing possibly belonging to adventurer Steve Fossett were discovered on Tuesday.

However, authorities said that no wreckage of the single-engine airplane Fossett was flying has been found.

"We have not found a body or an aircraft yet," said Mono County Undersheriff Frank Benarad.

Both air and ground searches have begun, fanning out from the area where the items tied to Fossett have been found, Benard said.

A sporting goods salesman, Preston Morrow, had been hiking in the backcountry northwest of Mammoth Mountain on Monday and discovered identification cards with a photo and the name Steve Fossett, said administrative assistant Shannon Kendall of the Mono County Sheriff's Office.

Morrow found identification cards with Fossett's name on them, some clothing, including a sweatshirt, and $1,000 in cash half buried in mud and pine needles.

Police e-mailed a copy of the identification card to the Federal Aviation Administration, said Ian Gregor, agency spokesman.

While the license number, photo, date of issue, license type and address matched information on file for Fossett, the FAA is still investigating, Gregor said.

"We haven't seen it, we haven't felt it, but it looks like an FAA pilot's certificate," Gregor said.

Another card discovered belonged to the National Soaring Club, and the identification number traced back to Fossett, Burns said.

Fossett took off on Sept. 3, 2007, in a single-engine airplane owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

Searchers scoured northern Nevada for months, but did not find a trace of the adventurer, who became the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon and set soaring records.

The area where Northern California authorities is searching sits about 7,800 feet above sea level. It's about 125 miles west of the Hilton Ranch where Fossett took off.

Peggy Fossett, Fossett's widow, said in a statement issued by the family attorney, "We are aware of the reports and are trying to verify the information."

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