Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 21:17 UK

Found items may be Fossett clue

Steve Fossett climbs out of his cockpit after his record-breaking flight around the world in 2005
Exhaustive searches had failed to find any trace of Mr Fossett

Items possibly belonging to Steve Fossett, the US adventurer who vanished a year ago, have been found by a hiker in California.

ID cards, cash and a sweatshirt were among the items found in woods near the town of Mammoth Lakes, in a rugged eastern area of the state.

Mr Fossett, 63, vanished in September last year while on a solo flight that took off from neighbouring Nevada.

The millionaire businessman was officially declared dead in February.

Wide-ranging searches had failed to find any trace of Mr Fossett or his plane following his disappearance.

I was wondering, why are there some ID cards and money when there was nothing else? No wallet, no bags, nothing, nothing, nothing
Preston Morrow, hiker

The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani, in Los Angeles, says the items were found outside the vast area searched after Mr Fossett went missing - and also in a different direction to that in which he was thought to have flown.

Mammoth Lakes has an elevation of about 7,800ft (2,400m) and is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range.

It is about 100 miles (160km) from where Mr Fossett began his flight.

Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Randy Schienle told CNN the items were "well-weathered".

'No wreckage'

Hiker Preston Morrow told US television he had stumbled upon the items while returning from a mountain walk on Monday.

There were no signs of wreckage from the plane, said Mr Morrow, an employee at a Mammoth Lakes sporting goods store.

"I was coming back down this really steep terrain and what caught my eye was these little (ID) cards in the dirt and the pine needles, and some $100 bills," he said.

"I was wondering, why are there some ID cards and money when there was nothing else? No wallet, no bags, nothing, nothing, nothing," he added.

Mr Morrow said he returned the next day and found the sweatshirt in the same area but was not sure if it was related.

The missing adventurer's ID cards were reportedly issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in Illinois.

Michael LoVallo, a lawyer for Mr Fossett's wife, Peggy, said: "We are aware of the reports and are trying to verify the information."

Mr Fossett took off from the ranch of hotel magnate Barron Hilton, at Yerington, Nevada, on 3 September on a flight that was expected to last three hours.

In 2002, he became the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon and had about 100 other world records to his name.

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Miami HeraldCrews to continue scouring Fossett crash site - 5 hrs ago
MSNBC Search crews find Fossett remains - 5 hrs ago
National Geographic Missing Adventurer Fossett's Belongings Found - 5 hrs ago
The Independent Human remains found in wreckage of Fossett's plane - 6 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Wreckage found by hiker on remote California mountainside confirmed as Steve Fossett's plane - 7 hrs ago
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