Two bones recovered last week near the wreckage of explorer Steve Fossett’s plane contain his DNA, officials announced Monday.
It was the last piece of evidence left in determining if Fossett might have survived his single-engine plane’s apparent head-on crash into a mountain at 10,000 feet in rugged terrain southeast of Yosemite National Park.
“A California Department of Justice forensics lab has determined that items containing DNA – discovered last week – match James Stephen Fossett’s DNA,” Madera County Sheriff John Anderson announced. “What his family has wanted for over a year now … what his family has needed … is closure.”
Anderson declined to describe the condition of the bones out of sensitivity for the family.
“I am grateful to the thorough efforts of Madera County Sherriff John Anderson and his team, the related agencies, including the authorities in Mono County, and all of the volunteers who helped recover Steve’s remains,” said Fossett’s widow, Peggy V. Fossett. “This has been an incredibly difficult time for me, and I am thankful to everyone who helped bring closure to this tragedy. I now await the conclusion of the NTSB investigation and findings into the cause of the crash.”
In the month since a hiker discovered 10 hundred-dollar bills and three pieces of Fossett’s ID, search and rescue teams also found more ID, tennis shoes, clothes and skeletal remains.
Fossett, 63, the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon, disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off in a single-engine plane borrowed from a Nevada ranch owned by Barron Hilton.