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The Madera Country Sheriff’s department has released photos of the wreckage of the plane that Steve Fossett was piloting on September 3, 2007. The single engine Bellanca 8kcab n240r appears to have crashed head on into the side of a mountain in the Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes, California.

An air search was undertaken on Wednesday after hiker Preston Morrow found personal effects that belonged to Fossett approximately a 1/4 mile from where the plane was eventually located. The tail number was verified at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

An NTSB team arrived on Thursday to begin their crash investigation. They are in the early stages of their fact finding mission but have stated that the high impact crash was likely a non survivable accident. A body has not yet been discovered.

October 31, 2008 UPDATE: Searchers have discovered human remains, a drivers license, $100 bill and tennis shoes belonging to missing aviator Steve Fossett. Two long bones, and animal chewed personal effects were discovered 1/4 mile from where hikers found the initial ID cards and $1,000 cash. Law enforcement officials believe that animals likely dragged Fossett’s body to the location where the remains were found yesterday.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson reported during a press conference on October 30, 2008 that the remains will undergo DNA testing. He was hopeful that this will bring closure to the mystery of what happened to Steve Fossett.

November 3, 2008 UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the two large bones found do match DNA that the Fossett family provided to investigators. The tests were conducted at California’s State Crime Lab. This finding will allow the case to be closed.

Photos below were released by the Madera County Sheriff and Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue.

More photos and details available here.