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Hiker who found Fossett items thanked

Oct. 2, 2008 at 5:07 PM   |   Comments

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Millionaire Richard Branson used a morning talk show to thank Preston Morrow, who found items of missing adventurer Steve Fossett in the California mountains.

"If it wasn't for Preston, I think we would have had no chance of ever finding Steve," Branson, a friend of Fossett, said Thursday on CBS' "The Early Show."

The British business magnate noted Morrow, on a day hike Tuesday along a mountain in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., found several items belonging to Fossett, who disappeared in 2007, contacted authorities and returned to get GPS coordinates.

The day after Morrow found Fossett's belongings, the wreckage was found in the mountainous back country near Mammoth Mountain during an aerial search Wednesday. Fossett, 63, disappeared on Sept. 3, 2007, on a solo flight from a remote ranch in Nevada.

The good news about Morrow's discovery, Branson said, "is that hopefully this will put to rest all the frivolous stories that have been going around once and for all, ,and give everybody who was close to Steve the chance to pay ... the right tributes to an absolutely incredible, great and extraordinary man."

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