Human remains found at Fossett crash site

Fri Oct 3, 2008 5:16am EDT
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By Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Crash site investigators found human remains amid the wreckage of Steve Fossett's small plane on a remote California mountain, the chief of the National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.

Parts of the small plane lost more than a year ago were scattered over a large debris field at around 10,000 feet on a mountain near the Nevada border, and search crews found a "very small" amount of human remains, Mark Rosenker, acting NTSB chairman, told Reuters by telephone.

"Did we find some? Yes, a very, very small amount," Rosenker said.

Fossett, 63, vanished after taking off in a single-engine Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon on September 3, 2007, from the airstrip of hotel magnate Barron Hilton's ranch in Nevada, sparking a long but fruitless search.

The finding of human remains may close months of debate over whether the millionaire adventurer actually died, although Rosenker said local officials would be responsible for examining the remains.

"It will be taken by the sheriff and the coroner and they will do the work," Rosenker said.

A local sheriff's official said a bone had been found at the crash site but declined to say if it was human or animal.

Rosenker at an earlier news conference noted that a judge had declared Fossett dead.   Continued...

<p>Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett sits in the capsule of his balloon that flew non-stop around the world in a file photo. REUTERS/William Philpott</p>