Site Of Fossett Wreckage Snowed In, Investigation Continues

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The site of Steve Fossett's crash, above 10,000 feet in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was covered in about two feet of snow over the weekend, and officials said they will probably not be able to return to the site until next summer. However, the NTSB already had retrieved the wreckage and the engine of the Decathlon that Fossett was flying, and the investigation will continue. "A revised report and a determination of probable cause will be issued upon completion of the investigation," the NTSB said. Several bone fragments found at the site have been sent to a lab to see if they can be identified as a match for Fossett. One of the searchers, who has posted some photos of the recovery effort online, said he was "amazed" by how thoroughly the site had been cleaned of debris. "Only a few pieces about the size of a silver dollar or smaller" remained, he said.

"Any Lookie Loos hoping to get there and find something to sell on eBay will be sorely disappointed," he added. An NTSB meteorologist is now compiling weather data from the area for the day of Fossett's disappearance, looking for evidence of high winds, turbulence or other weather conditions that could have been a factor, according to The Associated Press. A thunderstorm was reportedly in the area around the time of Fossett's disappearance. The board will also search for any trace of Fossett's airplane on radar records. Officials said the area where the wreck was found had been flown over several times by aerial search teams, but to no avail. The first evidence of the crash was discovered by a hiker on Sept. 29, roughly one-quarter mile from the crash site.