Snowstorm halts Fossett recovery efforts

Oct. 6, 2008 at 9:26 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- California authorities say it could be next year before recovery efforts can resume at the site where adventurer Steve Fossett's plane crashed.

The search in the Sierra Nevada had to be halted because of a snowstorm and it is unlikely conditions will improve enough for crews to return anytime soon, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

"We've got a substantial storm that blew threw," said spokeswoman Erica Stuart of the Madera County sheriff's office. "It's looking like we're probably not going to be back for quite some time."

Stuart said the snowstorm made it too difficult for searchers to find evidence and also represented a safety risk.

Fossett, 63, disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, after leaving his Nevada ranch but it wasn't until last Wednesday that the wreckage was located.

The National Transportation Safety Board removed Fossett's Bellanca Super Decathlon before the storm forced a halt to recovery operations.

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