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Clues to Fossett mystery discovered -

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Clues to Fossett mystery discovered

Broadcast: 02/10/2008

Reporter: Conor Duffy

Hikers in eastern California have discovered identification papers belonging to missing US
adventurer Steve Fossett. Unconfirmed reports also say an aerial search team may also have spotted
the wreckage of a plane.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The first clues about the disappearance of the wealthy US adventurer Steve
Fossett may have been discovered in rugged mountain country in Eastern California. The millionaire
went missing more than a year ago after taking off on a solo fight in a small plane. Hikers have
now found the missing man's identification papers, and unconfirmed reports tonight that an aerial
search team may have spotted the wreckage of a plane.

Connor Duffy reports.

CONNOR DUFFY, REPORTER: Last September Steve Fossett took off in this plane, and vanished a few
hours later. Despite an extensive search, rescuers couldn't find any trace of the millionaire was
found, nor his light plane. Now, 13 months later, hikers stumbled on Steve Cosset's ID and a wad of
cash during a day trek in a remote forest.

PRESTON MORROW, HIKER: The ID card was in black or blue, but their cards are white and that really
stands out. And the money in the dirt didn't stand out but $100 or $200 that were bleached and
white they stood out. The whole thing just kind of stood out. It made me go 'huh'.

SHERIFF JOHN ANDERSON, MADERA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: They've probably been laying there a year...
a little over a year. And I think it will be awful hard to determine how they... exactly how they
got there.

CONNOR DUFFY: The discovery has reinvigorated the search for the world renowned adventurer.
Rescuers have reported seeing what may be plane wreckage from the air. The recovery teams will stay
out. Though combing the high country won't be easy.

SHERIFF JOHN ANDERSON: Well right now the Mono County Sheriff's department has a search and rescue
team out there. They are 12 people, divided in four teams. They're doing a grid search, as the lady
mentioned here before. Tomorrow we'll probably double or triple that.

RALPH OBENBERGER, MONO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I believe one of the items were the items located
were up about 9,700 foot level. There are peaks above that. The terrain is, I'd say fairly rough,
mountainous.

CONNOR DUFFY: Steve Fossett was declared legally dead in February. Though the lack of evidence has
encouraged conspiracy theories about his fate. At the time he disappeared he was searching for a
dry lake bed on which to attempt a new land speed record.

In 2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon
finishing an epic flight in southern Queensland.

Conor Duffy, Lateline.