Steve Fossett's Death Confirmed
With the recent discovery of the wreckage of the Decathlon that Steve Fossett was flying when he disappeared last year, it seemed certain that he had failed to survive, but DNA tests on two large bones found near the site now have confirmed that Fossett perished on that remote California mountainside. Local officials announced on Monday that the test results were conclusive. The bones were found about a half mile from the crash site, along with a pair of tennis shoes and Fossett's Illinois state driver's license, which showed evidence of animal bites. "It's finally over, and now maybe Mr. Fossett's family can get some closure," said Erica Stuart, spokeswoman for the Madera County sheriff's office. Fossett and his airplane vanished on Sept. 3, 2007, after he took off from a private landing strip in Nevada. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, investigators now suspect that Fossett was caught off guard by "tricky wind patterns" found in that part of the eastern Sierra and slammed the airplane into a granite wall. The NTSB has collected the wreckage and is investigating the crash but has not yet published any determination of the probable cause. Fossett's widow, Peggy Fossett, released a statement. "I am hopeful that the DNA identification puts a definitive end to all of the speculation surrounding Steve's death," she said. "This has been an incredibly difficult time for me, and I am thankful to everyone who helped bring closure to this tragedy."