- U.S. Man Wanted for Czech Murders Arrested by FBI at Dulles
- Lawsuit Claims Deputy Shot Man But Didn't Call Paramedics
- Mother Killed, Kids Hurt, after Shoplifters Crash in Houston
- Washington, D.C. Transit Police Arrest AED Thief
- Suspect in Killing of Utah Officer Found Dead in Cell
- New Jersey Cop Accused of Setting Fire to Captain's Home
- U.S. Park Police Furloughs Could Cause Holiday Weekend Response Delays
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. -- Search teams confirmed that wreckage found in the rugged eastern mountains of California is that of missing adventurer Steve Fossett's airplane, the Madera County sheriff said Thursday.
An aerial search late Wednesday spotted what appeared to be wreckage in the Inyo National Forest near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Sheriff John Anderson said. Ground crews were confirmed it was Fossett's single-engine Bellanca plane late that night.
Searchers began combing a rugged part of eastern California on Wednesday after a hiker found identification documents belonging to Fossett earlier in the week. A pilot reported seeing possible wreckage around sunset, said Erica Stuart, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Office.
The IDs provided the first possible clue about Fossett's whereabouts since he disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.
Aviators had flown over Mammoth Lakes, about 90 miles south of the ranch, in the search for Fossett, but it had not been considered a likely place to find the plane.
The most intense searching was concentrated north of the town, given what searchers knew about sightings of Fossett's plane, his plans for when he had intended to return and the amount of fuel he had in the plane.
A judge declared Fossett legally dead in February following a search for the famed aviator that covered 20,000 square miles.