Washington, October 2 : Items possibly belonging to aviator Steve Fossett have been found by hikers in a remote area of California more than one year after his mysterious disappearance, it has emerged.
The development has prompted a fresh search. Preston Morrow, a local ski shop owner, claimed that on September 29 he found 3 cards with Fossett's name on them and ten tattered 100-dollar notes, while he was hiking with his dog near his home on Mammoth Lake, California.
When the 43-year old returned the next day to get a GPS reading of the site he further spotted a weatherworn sweatshirt on top of a ridge.
However, Mammoth Lakes Police Chief, Randy Schienle, later corrected the earlier reports that it was Morrow's wife that found the belongings in the forest.
He handed down the items to the local police after being unable to get through Fossett's family.
Morrow, however, has revealed that he was a little uncertain when he found the random items while there were no signs of Fossett's light plane.
"I have to admit, his name didn't pop in my head immediately," Fox News quoted him as saying in an interview.
He said: "But I did wonder, 'gee why is there some id cards and money right around here when there is nothing else?
"There was no wallet, no little bag ... nothing."
Meanwhile, the discovery of the items has probed authorities to assemble a new investigation team to search the area and validate the authenticity of the found items.
Fossett, who was legally declared dead in February this year, had taken off alone from a private airstrip in Nevada last September and had never returned.
Searchers had not found any trace of his plane, making the authorities speculate that the plane might have gone down in rugged country, and it's wreckage would be hard to find.
Fossett became the first person to fly solo non-stop around the world in a plane and is known for his many world records, including 5 non-stop circumnavigations of the Earth.
His disappearance has raised speculations that the millionaire balloonist and air-adventurer might have faked his own death to avoid paying devastatingly heavy debts.