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Bones are Fossett's, DNA testing shows

  • Story Highlights
  • Bones were found more than a half-mile from plane wreck site in California
  • DNA testing confirms bones are Fossett's, authorities say
  • Adventurer disappeared after 2007 solo flight; wreckage found last month
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(CNN) -- Bones found last week near where Steve Fossett's plane crashed in eastern California's Sierra Nevadas are those of the adventurer, authorities said Monday.

Fossett, seen here with his wife, Peggy, disappeared after a solo flight in 2007.

Fossett, seen here with his wife, Peggy, disappeared after a solo flight in 2007.

Testing at California's state crime lab determined that "two large bones" recovered Wednesday matched Fossett's DNA, a spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Department in California said.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said last week that confirmation that the bones were Fossett's would allow authorities to conclude with certainty that Fossett is dead.

Fossett was last seen on the morning of September 3, 2007, when he took off from the Flying-M Ranch outside Minden, Nevada. He was scouting locations for an attempt to break the land-speed record in a rocket-propelled car.

Searchers found the bones, Fossett's driver's license, a pair of shoes and a $100 bill on Wednesday, Anderson said last week. The discovery site was a little more than a half-mile from where Fossett's plane wreckage was found on October 1 in a remote area of the Sierra Nevadas at an altitude of 10,000 feet. See map showing takeoff site, crash site »

The site of Wednesday's discovery also is about a quarter-mile from where a hiker reported finding two aviation identification cards with Fossett's name and $1,000 in cash in late September, Anderson said.

Animal chew marks were found on the driver's license and the shoes, Anderson said. He said the marks indicate that "animals possibly [moved] the body."

Previous DNA tests on what were believed to be bone fragments at and near the crash site showed that the fragments weren't human remains, Anderson said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the wreck.


Fossett made his money in the financial services industry but became renowned for his daredevil exploits. Read about Fossett's milestones »

Fossett was the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon, in 2002, and the first to fly a plane around the world solo without refueling three years later. He also set world records in round-the-world sailing and cross-country skiing.

All About Steve FossettU.S. National Transportation Safety Board

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