MAMMOTH LAKES -- Madera County's sheriff says wreckage found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the plane of missing adventurer Steve Fossett.
Sheriff John Anderson says an aerial search late Wednesday spotted what appeared to be wreckage in the Inyo National Forest near the town of Mammoth Lakes.
The aircraft appeared to have crashed head-on into the side of a mountain, according to the sheriff. Most of the fuselage disintegrated on impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away.
No human remains were found, Anderson said, adding that investigators would continue to search for Fossett's body.
The area of the wreckage is not far from where a hiker found Fossett's identification documents earlier this week.
Authorities said that if Fossett survived the crash, he may have hiked through rugged terrain to that site.
The hiker, Preston Morrow, said he found a Federal Aviation Administration identity card, a pilot's license, a third ID and $1,005 cash tangled in a bush off a trail just west of the town of Mammoth Lakes on Monday.
He said he turned over the items to local police Wednesday after unsuccessful attempts to contact Fossett's family.
"It was just weird to find that much money in the backcountry, and the IDs," he said. "My immediate thought was it was a hiker or backpacker's stuff, and a bear got to the stuff and took it away to look for food or whatever."
Morrow said he initially did not know who Fossett was, however, co-workers recognized the aviator's name when he showed them the items.
The information on the pilot's license - including Fossett's name, address, date of birth and certificate number - matched FAA records, spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Authorities authenticated two of the documents, including Fossett's pilot's license, Anderson said.
Fossett, 63, disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, after taking off in a single-engine plane from a remote ranch in Nevada.
A judge declared Fossett dead in February.
Anderson said the steep, rugged area around the wreckage site had been flown over 19 times by the California Civil Air Patrol during the initial search for Fossett, which covered a total of 20,000 square miles.