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Hikers May Have Found Fossett Items

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the amelia-earhart-club dept.

News 219

An Anonymous reader writes "CNN is reporting 'A weathered sweat shirt, cash and a pilot license with Fossett's name were found Tuesday near Mammoth Lakes, police Chief Randy Schienle said.' The license did not have a photo. '"We're not certain that it belongs to Steve Fossett, but it certainly has his name on the ID," Schienle said.'"

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219 comments

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ya (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228417)

what's up i'm doug

The body? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228427)

The body is being kept in a cooler offsite, for a conference tomorrow in California

I bet Hans Reiser would know where the remains are (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229555)

He has a knack for that sort of thing.

oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228443)

CRIKEY!

Re:oblig. (1)

Mr Abstracto (226219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228575)

*face-palm*

It's a hoax, people. (1, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228461)

Ok, so a world-renowned pilot takes off in 2,000 pounds of airplane, steel, fuel, and glass, What's found? A partially burned piece of some of the most flammable things on the plane, including a very small piece of PLASTIC that happens to have his name on it.

But no body, no 1,000 pounds of steel, no bits of rubber, no airplane seat bits, just a few, highly flammable personal items (clothing, ID) that happens to have the name "Steve Fosset" on it.

What are the odds?

This is a hoax.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (5, Funny)

TheMidnight (1055796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228483)

In other news, a salon discount card with Amelia Earheart's name and picture was found floating in the South Atlantic by a passing schooner.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228979)

Right next to Jim Gray's ham radio license.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Funny)

tekrat (242117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228513)

That's 'cause the ALIENS took 'im.

And they kept the plane.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228583)

The ALIENS saw his flight around the world and thought, "hey we can take this human and make him fly our space ships!"

Re:It's a hoax, people. (5, Funny)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228743)

Nonsense! Everyone knows that aliens use video games to determine the worth of a pilot.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228965)

+1 awesome childhood reference!

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Insightful)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228535)

Nothing in any of the reports I've read said anything about the license being "partially burned"... and the hoaxer had so much money laying around he decided he'd add $1,000 to the find?

Re:It's a hoax, people. (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228643)

To me, that would be an expensive hoax, because that would have to be turned in. If the license turns out to be faked, then it might be an even more expensive hoax if a prosecutor tries to file a suit for perpetrating fraud.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

SpacePirate20X6 (935718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228849)

Files a suit against who, exactly?

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229099)

Maybe the person that turns in the fake ID, if they find that person knew it was a fake.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229815)

Maybe it's Fossett's hoax.

Dun dun dun...

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228689)

You can see in the pictures of the license that it is "partially burned"...

Re:It's a hoax, people. (5, Insightful)

Macman408 (1308925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229493)

No, it's not. The certificate has a small tear taken out of it. The other IDs didn't look to have fared quite as well, but also don't show any obvious burn marks - they're torn, tattered, and dirty. A year of exposure to the elements probably caused all the damage you see to those papers and the bills.

More plausible: He was able to get the plane on the ground, probably destroyed it in the process, suffered significant injuries, and was unable to get help. He may have left some items behind, dropped them, or perhaps his body was disturbed by wildlife. I expect they'll find more evidence upon searching more thoroughly.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (5, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228759)

The CNN article misses some important details. According to the AP:

The information on the pilot license -- including Fossett's name, address, date of birth and certificate number -- was sent in a photograph to the Federal Aviation Administration, and all matched the agency's records, spokesman Ian Gregor said.

"We're trying to determine the authenticity of the document," Gregor said.

The hiker, Preston Morrow, said he found an FAA identity card, a pilot's license, a third ID and $1,005 in cash tangled in a bush off a trail just west of the town of Mammoth Lakes on Monday. He said he turned the items over to local police Wednesday after unsuccessful attempts to contact Fossett's family.

So our hoaxer forges 3 separate IDs, in one case getting all the original information that was on Fossett's FAA card, and adds $1005? That's one heck of a hoax. I suppose you could argue that's he's trying to get a reward from Fossett's rich widow for "finding" her husband's final resting place... but after he couldn't get ahold of the family's lawyers, he went to the police. Seems that would be the last thing a hoaxer would want to do, is get the police and authorities involved; I imagine forging federal IDs is a pretty serious offense. Doesn't make sense.

True, finding the contents of his wallet off on their own is odd... but animals are curious and like to chew on things, especially when they're hungry. In the middle of winter in the Sierra mountains, a bear or fox might decide that a leather wallet was better to eat than nothing and tear the wallet apart for a snack. Bears in particular will eat damn near anything, edible or not.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (2, Informative)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228827)

Just for the record, FAA pilot information is public and it would be trivial to get all of the information that would appear on Fossett's pilot certificate. However, performing the actual forgery is well beyond simply finding that information, and this doesn't smell like a hoax to me. Also note that an FAA pilot certificate is not ID, or at least not photo ID, as it has no photo on it, just a name. In order to be valid it must be combined with government-issued photo ID. But it's still probably pretty harshly frowned upon to forge it.

Oh, and... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229617)

They have a not-cheap-to-forge hologram on 'em.

Yah, I have a mechanic's cert, and all that info is public. Same card will show my pilot rating someday.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229343)

Not to mention the "reward" would likely be in the amount of $1005.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

BrowserCapsGuy (872795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228925)

I wonder if the money has been tested to see if it's counterfeit? If it is that would make the hoax easier to afford.

Although from a potential "time spent in jail" point of view this would still be a stupid hoax and hoaxer.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228559)

This is a hoax.

Yeah but who is the hoaxer?

Psuedocide (2, Insightful)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228881)

He wouldn't be the first person to fake his own death.

Andy Kaufman [museumofhoaxes.com] is a recent one I can think of.

Here's a quick list of some psuedocides [wikipedia.org] . Obviously, it is not very complete though, since Andy Kaufman isn't listed... But I guess this kind of crap really happens. Perhaps, bored with living the life of a millionaire, Mr. Fossett decided to do something exciting, like "die". ;)

Re:Psuedocide (2, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228917)

Andy Kaufman did not fake his death. That is a total urban legend, which is why it's not mentioned on that Wikipedia page.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/kaufman.asp [snopes.com]

Re:Psuedocide (2)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229201)

Thank you for that correction.

Kaufman was a very bad example then. There have certainly been others though, so the original premise of my reply still holds true, I guess.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228927)

At least we know it wasn't for the insurance money.

He was pretty rich already.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229349)

your mom.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228621)

The debris can be spread over a very large area. In the mountains a 1,000 feet can be a long distance and undergrowth can easily hide a small plane that has been shattered. Also his body might have been dragged away by animals as well as being thrown from the plane as it crashed. Bodies can be spread over miles with large aircraft.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228645)

yeah... if he got hit by a missle.

he bailed out... (2, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228649)

if he jumped out of the plane it's ENTIRELY feasible that they found clothes and his ID, and no "plane parts".

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228665)

From the photo in a newscast I saw there were at least half a dozen $100.00 dollar bills. Doubt anyone would leave these around for a hoax.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Interesting)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228681)

Ok, so a world-renowned pilot takes off in 2,000 pounds of airplane, steel, fuel, and glass, What's found? A partially burned piece of some of the most flammable things on the plane,

Have you seen the remains of the towers on 9/11? It's bizarre what can come out of a catastrophic event.

I'm not saying it's genuine or fake, but your criteria doesn't prove anything either.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228753)

Ok, so a world-renowned pilot takes off in 2,000 pounds of airplane, steel, fuel, and glass, What's found? A partially burned piece of some of the most flammable things on the plane,

Have you seen the remains of the towers on 9/11? It's bizarre what can come out of a catastrophic event.

I'm not saying it's genuine or fake, but your criteria doesn't prove anything either.

Stewart: "how do you know the twin towers collapsed there?"
Joe: "Well, I found a little plastic card and some chewing gum"
Stewart: "noo.. concrete chunks? no steel fragments?"
Joe: "nope"
Stewart: "with all due respect sir, this structure was several hundred meters tall"
Joe: "It's bizarre what survives a catastrophic event.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229803)

To the mods:

WHOOOSH!

Re:It's a hoax, people. (3, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229765)

I think the "hoax" crowd neglects the possibility that Fossett survived the crash and walked towards what he thought was civilization. The Lady Be Good" [qmfound.com] was a US bomber that went down in the desert during World War II. The crew bailed out and some of the survivors walked over a hundred miles in the scorching desert with only a very limited supply of food and water. Perhaps Fossett crash-landed and tried to survive off the land awaiting rescue. He might have became disoriented and left his ID and belongings behind, or even may have sought shelter in some gully and died there.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (2, Interesting)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228763)

One little flaw, they may be highly flammable but they are also highly transportable. If the plane EXPLODED, and if the hikers were where it exploded, sure. If he survived and wandered off, they could be miles from where it crashed. Him ditching the wallet and cash I could see, I'd ditch it too if my useless giant fortune sat there mocking me as I die alone in the woods. The sweater doesn't make sense, that would be worth more then gold in that situation.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228841)

One little flaw, they may be highly flammable but they are also highly transportable. If the plane EXPLODED, and if the hikers were where it exploded, sure.

1) depending on the environment the hikers could have walked within 50 yards from the crash site and not seen it.

2) even if he didn't survive, or died away from the crash site, animals could have wandered off with stuff either from the crash site, or from the site where he passed away.

As someone else said a bear might easily be interested in taking a bite out of a leather wallet, or briefcase. It might also rip through a bag cotaining perhaps a sweater, and then strew its contents of anything it wasn't interested in along it path. Contents which might be moved further by weather or other animals...

Re:It's a hoax, people. (4, Interesting)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228909)

People in the later stages of hypothermia engage in 'shedding' of clothes. They think they are hot so they start taking off articles of clothing, leaving a trail. This is often how rescuers find bodies, by following the trail of clothing to a frozen stiff. This was how they found the husband of the James Kim family who made a wrong turn in California about a year ago. The family stayed in the car while the husband went on walkabout. They followed the trail of clothing to his frozen corpse.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229251)

He & family was from california, but they got lost in the woods of southern oregon taking a "shortcut" over to the coast from I-5...

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229759)

the sweater, once hypothermia starts setting you skin starts to feel like it is burning hot. You'll start pulling off clothing thinking you are burning up when it is just the opposite and you've now accelerated you demise. so it is not odd if he did indeed survive a crash. It could also have been pulled off his body by animals but there would be blood and other damage indicating how it was removed. There's been little info on the sweater.

LoB

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228851)

Bullshit.

Ever heard of a little something called wind? How about wildlife? Water?

Things move and get moved, especially if they start a couple thousand feet up in the air. That's kinda just how things work.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228969)

Clearly, you've never seen a plane crash site up close..

Thump into a big mountain at 120km/hr and your stuff gets scattered over a remarkably wide area.

Contrary to what you see in the movies, the fireball is not inevitable (especially if the pilot turned off the gas before making that "unscheduled off-airport landing", or they crashed because of the second most common cause: running out of fuel)

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229271)

The technical term for "unscheduled off-airport landing" is a CFIT or "Controlled Flight Into Terrain" which is what occurs when a perfectly good airplane at normal attidude and speed with a pilot who is in complete control of the aircraft happens to have misplaced the mountain in relation to himself.  But I would beleive the the late Steve did not in fact suffer a CFIT or more likelu suffered a loss of control onset by something or other and failed to recover due to some other thing and collided with the ground.<p>
PS. I used to be in RCAC and read ALOT of aviation accident reports, the way they phrase the things at times can be downright hilarious.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228973)

Of course the fact that no one has bothered to look for a crash in the area where the id and possible clothing were found, because everyone focused on an area more than 50 miles away, has no impact on your claim that this is a hoax.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (2, Insightful)

ShadowFalls (991965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229407)

Why is it insane to think that the plane crashed for any whatever reason, and the guy survived? Wouldn't be the first person to survive a plane crash. It can take awhile to find a plane when you aren't looking in the right place, especially if the plane had a navigation problem and ended up flying off-course.

Also, he could have survived the plane crash and traveled some distance but didn't get too far due to injuries. If he discovered the lake, it would be certainly possible he cleaned up, drank a little, etc. and left the stuff behind when emptying his pockets and the shirt from perhaps being hot.

It wouldn't be too hard for someone to know what shirt he was wearing the day he left or confirm it was in fact his or not. Might even be able to identify fingerprints on the items if he had any on record or if you checked for fingerprints on his possessions.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229537)

Because as we all know, the remnants of a crashed plane and pilot tend to form a nice little pile by the roadside, right?

On the return visit, they found a Nautica fleece pullover and left it at the scene, anchored by a rock.

Baumwohl theorized that Fossett's plane may have hit a nearby ridge or mountainside, ejecting the pilot. No body was found near the other materials because bears or mountain lions may have dragged it off, he said.

source [latimes.com]

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229593)

But no body, no 1,000 pounds of steel, no bits of rubber, no airplane seat bits, just a few, highly flammable personal items (clothing, ID) that happens to have the name "Steve Fosset" on it.

Who said it burned first? Maybe it broke apart and then burned. Maybe it didn't burn at all.

Maybe not (2, Insightful)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229597)

There are these wild dogs running around in the Sierras. Commonly referred to as Coyotes. They grab a bite here and there, whenever the opportunity presents itself. They have been known to drag some tasty morsel to a more favorable spot to munch. Can be miles.

If the searchers expand their search from the find location, I'll bet they find the crash site.

But no body, no 1,000 pounds of steel, no bits of rubber, no airplane seat bits, just a few, highly flammable personal items (clothing, ID) that happens to have the name "Steve Fosset" on it.

Real airplane crashes are not like those you see on TV. Not everything explodes on impact. Small planes crashes usually just leave wreckage and carnage. Oh, and they are made of Aluminum, not steel. No sparks to ignite fuel or fumes.

He probably lost power and went down in trees. The trees clip off the wings and the fuselage smashes into rocks or ground.

I actually walked upon a fresh crash site while hiking in the Sierras many years ago. Some other hikers were there when I arrived. I didn't see it going down but noticed a wing embedded in a tree and went to investigate. It was pretty gruesome. 2 dead people and 1 survivor.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229665)

It's more likely the plane is somewhere else. He may have crash-landed, survived but injured, and collapsed and died a mile or more away from the crash site, where he was eaten by the locals in the woods. If it's at the bottom of a lake somewhere, it may be some time before it's found, even if they now have a better idea where to look.

Re:It's a hoax, people. (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229721)

ever seen a bear drag a body away for a midnight snack? Atleast one article I read on this had some cop or sheriff or something say that many times they don't find bodies because of the large animals in those wilderness areas.

As far as finding the plane goes, it was covered with snow when the plane was lost so it was not going to be very easy to find if it went down in a very wooded area. the best time to look was probably spring before the ground cover bloomed and trees filled out.

I don't find it all that odd. My guess is that they atleast now have a 10-20 mile radius to search with a much higher probability of finding the wreckage.

LoB

Re:It's a hoax, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229857)

Ok, so a world-renowned pilot takes off in 2,000 pounds of airplane, steel, fuel, and glass, What's found? A partially burned piece of some of the most flammable things on the plane, including a very small piece of PLASTIC that happens to have his name on it.

But no body, no 1,000 pounds of steel, no bits of rubber, no airplane seat bits, just a few, highly flammable personal items (clothing, ID) that happens to have the name "Steve Fosset" on it.

What are the odds?

This is a hoax.

It's easy .. he threw out his ID and stuff while the plane was going down so there'd be no mistake as to his identity. Being an experienced pilot, he probably understood there's a good chance it would all get burned up in the crash, and that it might not be found for years. My guess is that they'll find the wreck over the next couple weeks, thanks to him doing that.

No Hoax (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229967)

Crikey... you need to get out and do some backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I've hiked around there for over 30 years, and Fosset's wrecked plane is somewhere up wind of the found items.

The article says the items were found in brush (where the wind likely blew them).

Things can blow for miles down some of those canyons.

It shouldn't be too difficult to find the wreckage with this new information.

What is a pilot's "license?" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228495)

This always bothers me. I'd like to see once in the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) where it uses the word license.

It is a pilot CERTIFICATE not a license.

On another note, it'd be nice to see some closure for Fossett. I've met him a few times, and he's a great person. He's an equally amazing pilot.

Re:What is a pilot's "license?" (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228613)

In the article, it says certificate, not license.

Re:What is a pilot's "license?" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228733)

He's an equally amazing pilot.

Except for this one time...

Re:What is a pilot's "license?" (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229787)

you don't know that. what happened could just have easily shown how skilled he was at piloting. Conditions such as a big tree, could have caused a fatal end in an otherwise fantastic recovery and landing. There aren't many places to land up there without hitting something big and hard.

LoB

Re:What is a pilot's "license?" (1)

Skrapion (955066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228845)

Lighten up, Sparky. They're the same thing. [wikipedia.org]

If you're that bothered about word choice, why aren't you bothered that the USA decided to use a word which doesn't accurately describe the document's purpose?

Re:What is a pilot's "license?" (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229261)

I know several private pilots, just single prop guys though. I'm pretty sure I've heard them all call them licenses at one time or another.

CNN did use the correct terminology, but that's expected of a more formal news site. Given that Slashdot is a lot less formal, I hardly consider this licence/certificate thing to be a problem compared to other editorial issues on this site.

Go talk to the Perlan Project guys. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229307)

They'll tell you that Fossett was anything but "an amazing pilot". He wasn't exactly a terrible pilot, just nothing better than average, at best. What he did have was a willingness to fund adventures, so long as he was top dog.

His money was greatly appreciated, but the attention-seeking man was merely tolerated. He wasn't hated, but nor was he required, beyond the financial aspect of his participation. But Fossett loved the glory and limelight, so he made it a precondition of funding a venture that he be the public face of it.

Yes, I know this is going to be modded troll and flamebait, but at least I can say that I genuinely "knew" Fossett, and I don't like hearing people such as the OP claiming that Fossett was "an amazing pilot", when the fact is he couldn't have done shit without the help of the other people and pilots he funded.

Is this a plane? (1)

obidobi (306713) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228515)

Why does this belong on Slashdot? (-1, Flamebait)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228547)

Honestly, WTF?

Re:Why does this belong on Slashdot? (1)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228653)

Re:Why does this belong on Slashdot? (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228789)

So Slashdot is as varied as Digg? [segfault]

Re:Why does this belong on Slashdot? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228663)

Posted by samzenpus. Slashdot's resident Idle section contributor.

Location (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228619)

I had some time to burn so I entered a few things in Google Maps. Here's the best map I could come up with [google.com] using the takeoff location provided by Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . There's no option for directions by plane, so I went with the walking option. Anyway ... assuming this isn't some stupid hoax, the point is (if there really is one) that the searches last year were all focused on Nevada if I remember correctly. But from the location being reported and from the map, you can see that the location they're talking about is A) in California, and B) pretty much due south from where Fossett took off from.

Re:Location (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229309)

There's a pass there also. If you were going to cross the Sierras in a small plane, you would definitely go down to Mammoth, especially if you were going to L.A. And you never cross mountains perpendicularly, you always approach at an angle.

So, either he's dead in the mountain somewhere and his stuff was carried there by a bear or something OR it's a treasure hunt or something. And he's out of the country with a new name, new face, and no mortgage backed security holdings. ;)

Re:Location (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229337)

As I see it, there are essentially three possibilities. First, Steve's instrumentation failed and he flew not only in the wrong direction but also ended up flying into the lake. Unlikely, given his experience, but even the best sometimes over-rely on instrumentation, and I've spoken to some damn good WW2 pilots who have assured me that prior to reliable instrumentation, people often took a fatal wrong turning in a cloud, or mistook a really smooth river for a runway. All in all, I consider this unlikely but within the realms of possibility.

The second option is that he crashed somewhere relatively near to where the belongings were found, where "relatively near" would be the distance you could expect a hardened survivor with plenty of experience of extreme conditions to be able to travel given his supplies and the availability of natural resources. In this case, it is possible he deliberately left a marker to (a) avoid walking in circles, and (b) inform searchers he'd survived that long and was in that general proximity. It's not unknown for people to leave such markers, and if there was a reason to believe the crash site would never be found (such as being in a lake), this could well be the only sort of marker he could realistically leave.

The third option - the most likely but also the most depressing - is that he got clear of the wreckage but was killed by a bear or other large predator, and that what we are seeing is a location where such a predator decided to take a snack. If this is the case, we might still locate the wreck, but this may well be all we'll ever see of Steve Fossett.

Re:Location (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229453)

Have you been anywhere near Mammoth Lakes? Aside from the bears, you make no sense.
 
Maybe you are talking about Lake Tahoe or Mono Lake as this "lake", but that is crazy too.

Being stranded near Mammoth is tolerable in Sept, but you'd be screwed for most of the year. I've encountered snow there in July.

Re:Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229795)

As best as I can gather from various news reports, the recent evidence was found somewhere within a mile or two of 37Â39'58.93"N, 119Â 7'50.32"W, at an elevation of 10,100 ft.

While not entirely clear, the reports seem to indicate the IDs and cash were in the pocket of the sweater (it sounded like something a sailor would wear on his yatch). A feasible explanation of why this wasn't found near the plane was that it departed the plane prior to landing (or impact). On the emergency landing checklist for most planes, one item is to open the door so you can get out faster after landing. If the sweater was on the floor or backseat (it was a tandem plane), the sweater could have blown out in the wind, and drifted to ground miles from where the plane ended up.

At any rate, the local sheriff, and hopefully the Civil Air Patrol, will be blanketing the area (it was outside last years search bounds), and hopefully come up with something in a few days. I spent a few hours looking around Google Earth and found about 10 potential impact sites, though nothing conclusive (and I don't even know if the imagery is newer than the crash).

Re:Location (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229811)

"Few days" seems to be excessive. Perhaps. News just in: Wreckage has been reported near where the material was found, but the exact location is still being kept secret.

Re:Location (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229633)

There was a website once with satellite photos to help look, does anyone remember what it was?

Kinda hard to tell from google maps, but something like this [google.com] may be all that you can see...

A prank? (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228741)

Looking at the photo of the items found something just doesn't look right.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fossett2-2008oct02,0,1608495.story [latimes.com]

Look at the card in the center. It looks to "fresh" and clean compared to the rest.

Re:A prank? (4, Informative)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228777)

The other card and money are paper. Pilots licenses are made out of plastic. It wouldn't get wrinkled/dirty like a piece of paper.

Re:A prank? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228819)

They are made of plastic, now.
This just happened a few years ago. If no information on the license changed, there would not be a reason for him to have a plastic license, unless he just requested one.

Re:A prank? (1)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228931)

Ok, but still makes the assumption thats an absurd hoax. Going with the safer assumption that its not a nearly pointless hoax: Its a plastic card in the picture, and plastic wouldn't get wrinkled like the paper does, which explains the original post's confusion over why "plastic" didn't get wrinkly and dirty like paper.

Re:A prank? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229137)

Many of Fossett's exploits were performed outside of the US, and as I recall the plastic version swiftly became necessary to legally fly in other countries on the basis of a US certificate. That alone would be sufficient reason for him to have one. Other reasons would include adding a new rating, losing the old certificate, or just wanting to keep up with the latest shiny.

In any case, the certificate in that photo is most certainly the plastic kind. (The paper ones don't look anything like that.) You might argue about why he would have one, but the idea that the photo indicates something wrong solely because the item in the center isn't warped and dirty is simply broken.

Re:A prank? (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229683)

Change of address, maybe?

The date of issue as seen in this photo [turner.com] looks to be 6 JUL 2007, which was about two months before he disappeared.

They sure didn't do a great job of blurring out the certificate number, did they? (Zoom in to read the print.)

Re:A prank? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229643)

The other card and money are paper. Pilots licenses are made out of plastic. It wouldn't get wrinkled/dirty like a piece of paper.

My pilot's license is made out of paper.

Re:A prank? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25228995)

Look at the images a bit more, to me it would appear that he used a money clip judging from the folds in the bills and that some weathered more then others possibly indicating some stuff was in the center of the stack. Apparently no money clip [yahoo.com] was found however. The person who found the stuff thought things were odd regarding what was there and what wasn't. Anyone here happen to have been acquainted with Steve Fosset enough to know whether he used a money clip or not? Would think that if it was not clipped it would have been seperated by wind by now, rubber band would have held the stuff similarly but more likely to damage the money directly underneath it in a manner that the money doesn't show in that image, but would have broke down over time and dropped off.

Nothing wrong with that card, except... (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229425)

...it's got a bite taken out of the upper right hand corner.

Other than that, it looks pretty much the same as my private pilot certificate.

Strange (-1, Flamebait)

psycho sparky (896110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25228755)

That he should disappear at exactly the same time as a bunch of nukes are intercepted illegally en route out of the USA.

Too bad my flash version isn't compatable (1)

Xamindar (533756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229069)

This CNN.com feature is optimized for Adobe Flash Player version 8 or higher. You are currently using Flash Player 10

Re:Too bad my flash version isn't compatable (2, Funny)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229239)

You must be using the binary 10 (2).

The money is mine. (2, Funny)

SlashSnot (647926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229075)

Listen, the plane was going down. I took his money. I lost a backpack on the landing, so I just need to get that money back. You can keep the shirt. Thanks, DB Cooper

Good Samaritan takes stuff (4, Funny)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229193)

15 minutes later old man comes out of lake after a refreshing swim and says, "Hey, who the fuck took my wallet and my shirt!?"

headline/CNN care about the photo for no reason (3, Informative)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229293)

It's funny both the slashdot summary and CNN note that the police said the pilot's license didn't have a photo.

For good reason. Pilots' licenses don't have photographs. I think the police there have never seen anything like it and are just plain perplexed.

This is so ridiculous (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229331)

That I can't afford but give you some Alexander Robotnick ProblÃmes d'Amour lyrics in reply: ... wait, I can't find them.

Some genuine news here. (2, Informative)

JavaManJim (946878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229391)

From the Mammoth Times.
Yawn,I used Google Earth to visit the Minarets and Shadow Lake area. No blue and white trash pile evident to my untrained eye. Then perhaps the Google picture was pre accident 2006. Oh well.

New discovery revives search for Fossett
Wednesday, 01 October 2008
Shortly after noon today, Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue teams will begin a search for the wreckage of lost air-adventurer Steve Fossett's plane, which went down in the California/Nevada area a year ago September. The search is based on discovery of a sweater and three of Fossett's aviation ID cards in the Minarets on Monday by Preston Morrow, a local hiker who works at Kittredge Sports. The search will begin on the John Muir Trail between Dorothy and Shadow Lakes. Prior searches focused on land east of the Glass Mountains.

The California Highway Patrol helicopter from Fresno will fly in the search teams.

Fossett was declared dead in Feburary of this year.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 October 2008 )

Source: http://www.mammothtimes.com/content/view/94652/1/ [mammothtimes.com]

Re:Some genuine news here. (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229823)

Just in: Wreckage has been reported near to where the items were found, but the exact location is being kept a closely-guarded secret. They're due to swarm into the area of the reported wreckage pretty much first thing tomorrow.

Animal hair found on items (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229439)

Sad if he survived and an animal took him.

His Wikipedia mentions he was have financial problems and could have staged a suicide.

Why would he have cash? (1)

HughJJorgan (816098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229703)

Why would someone on a pleasure flight over the Sierra Nevadas carry $1005 in cash with him?

Re:Why would he have cash? (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229907)

Because that's probably what his wallet contained when he hopped on the plain. It makes sense to take more money with you than you reasonably expect to spend during the day. When you own as much money as he did, that metric will adjust, as well.

Real breaking news (4, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229783)

Search crews have found some wreckage, apparently. No link because it's only a banner on CNN's website.

Uhhh... (-1, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229853)

Who the fuck is Steve Fossett, and why should we care?
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