Investigators believe Fossett 'died instantly' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Investigators believe Fossett 'died instantly'

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. - Investigators say it's clear from the wreckage of Steve Fossett's plane that he must have "died instantly." They spotted the wreckage late yesterday in California's rugged Sierra Nevada, just over a year after the wealthy adventurer vanished on a solo flight.

Today, they confirmed that it was the plane Fossett was flying. They say it looks like the plane hit a mountainside head-on. But they haven't found any human remains in the wreckage.

A sheriff says remains sometimes aren't found for days -- and sometimes they're never found, because animals have been there. Most of the plane's fuselage disintegrated on impact. Authorities say the engine was found several hundred feet away.

The National Transportation Safety Board is bringing in a contractor to help recover the wreckage. The agency's acting chairman says it will be weeks or months before there's a "better understanding of what happened."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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