Authorities have confirmed that wreckage found in the Mammoth Lakes area of northeastern California is that of the Super Decathlon Steve Fossett was reported missing in just over a year ago. However, early reports of the circumstances of the crash may raise more questions than they answer about the end of a flight that sparked the largest air and ground search in recent memory. “It was a head-on crash into the side of a mountain, into a rock,” Madera County Sheriff John Anderson told a news conference, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The plane disintegrated. We found the engine 300 feet from the fuselage.” No body has been found. When Fossett took off from Barron Hilton’s Minden, Nevada-area ranch, the weather was clear and Fossett was reportedly going on a local flight to check out dry lake beds for a planned land speed record bid.
Mammoth Lakes is a mountainous area east of Yosemite National Park. Anderson said the wreckage was found at about the 10,000-foot level and was about a quarter mile from where a hiker found Fossett’s pilot certificates and clothing two days earlier.