Steve Fossett ID, cash, jacket found near Mammoth Lakes, California. Hoax or real?


Hikers and searchers from the Mammoth Lakes Calfornia are reporting they have found an FAA ID for Steve Fossett along with a jacket and some crumpled money.     I’m confused as to why this is only coming out now after two days since the Fossett story was international news for many weeks as thousands participated in a huge search for the missing aviator.     He was lost after flying from Nevada on September 3, 2007.

Fossett was declared dead February 15, 2008.   If this find is not a hoax it implies Fossett may have been alive after the crash.   However it seems very odd that a survival expert of Fossett’s caliber could have survived the crash and wandered around leaving only a few items rather than marking a large area with rocks and markings to signal the aircraft he knew would come looking for him.

The Fossett mystery continues.

More from Mammoth Lakes News

Danger DataFossett Flight ?

Kim Search blog gathering


Yesterday we had a very enjoyable breakfast at the Galice Resort with some of the folks who made the blog so interesting during the search for the Kim family up in the Rogue River Wilderness. I’ll put up some pictures soon though I only took a few along the route because this set of pictures, taken about 3 months back, was so good.

At breakfast we had Bob Hollenbeck and his wife Sue, John Rachor, Sara (JoCoSAR), and Emily (RogueRiverRat78)

John, who was spotted Kati and the girls, flew in and out in his Chopper.

After breakfast Emily and Sara took me all the way up to where the Kims had stopped the car and became snowed in, and many miles before that where James had made the fateful decision to head down into Big Windy Canyon. Phew – that is a quite a road up there when you take the BLM 34-8-36 (which may be named differently depending on the local person you talk to). This is the right turn they took after backing up from snow on the route NF23 which does go over to Gold Beach. The gate to BLM 34-8-36 is NOW LOCKED on the BLM road that heads off to the right, and I understand that the BLM plans to keep it locked all season. There was a rock cairn and picture of James on one of the posts as a memorial that had been placed recently there.

The pictures can’t really convey how steep Big Windy Canyon is where you head down off the road, and my windy tour with Emily and Sara made it clearer to me how hard it was to get people in there to search, how huge the search area was, and how difficult the searching would have been in those conditions. Bob Hollenbeck wants to take an onstar up there this summer to see if it’ll work.

Another thing that became very clear to me was how difficult the search was made by the false reports of sightings of the family, including ones way over in Gold Beach. This made it very hard to narrow the search area.

John Rachor’s excellent warning sign was up near the left turn off of Galice Road and up into the high country but in my opinion it’s unfortunate he had to move it back from where it was. I’m a lot more familiar with that area than any tourist would be and it’s still pretty darn confusing with respect to signage. That said, we now know Kati and James made a decision to back up from the Forest Service 23 after they hit snow and take the lower road. Better signs would have helped keep them off this road, but it was not signage that got them to take this “wrong road”.

At the car site little was left from the Kim’s extraordinary challenge of facing 9 days there with little food. The fire area had been scraped mostly clear – it was about 50 yards from where the car was which was near the middle of the intersection of 3 roads.

Sara spotted a red package way up in the bushes which turned out to be an emergency blanket that had been dropped after Kati was found but before they could pick her up.

All in all an amazing day yesterday where I got a much better idea of the scale of this search and the difficulties faced by Kati, James, and their family. I can’t thank Emily and Sara enough for a remarkable tour of the area that seemed so oddly familiar even though I’d never been there. On the *long* way back to Galice up and down that windy road it was even clearer to me how James Kim would be OK with the outcome of his personal tragedy – his family is safe and is going to be fine.

Rescue Wiki – check it out !


Rescue Wiki is a new website to assist Search and Rescue efforts around the world. Like DangerData.com it is an experimental approach to enlisting online help for SAR efforts.

Wikis can be a good way to collectively process information if you are dealing with a computer savvy crowd, but in my experience they limit participation compared to blogs which make it easier to comment and to passively participate.

Rescue Wiki has both, which may be a great solution. Check it out and let him know what you think!  Rescue Wiki

DangerData.com blog is now live


DangerData.com Danger Data Blog

As a local I blogged the Kim Family search here in Southern Oregon, and it became clear that it might be helpful for search efforts to have more *simple* ways to distribute and share data, leads, and perhaps even harness the power of the collective intelligence of the huge online community.

Thanks to the Kim’s family friends, especially Scott, a website called JamesandKati.com served as a comment area and sort of “watering hole” for the enormous number of people checking in to follow that story.   Even this blog, “Joe Duck”, became a heavily trafficked news and opinion resource for many as mainstream media struggled to cover the story accurately.

After the heroic rescue of Kati and the children and the tragic death of James Kim many  of the officials and volunteers involved in the search began to post at the blog which quickly became it’s own community.

Input from several experts in computer databases and mapping led to the idea that a blog and database might be created to help with Search and Rescue and Missing persons.  The idea was to use online tools to enhance and help with the search efforts and more quickly spread the word on cases.    Glenn has been very actively working on the database component – more on that later – and eventually we’ll try to integrate the blog and the database.

The DangerData.com blog is a very experimental effort to help find people.  It won’t be a substitute for any existing offline or online efforts, rather an attempted enhancement.    Comments are welcome.

Jim Gray, computing pioneer, missing at sea off California Coast


Click here to help scan satellite pictures and help with the search for Jim Gray.

The New York Times is now covering the story as is Amazon’s Werner Vogels

Current news stories click here

—– earlier ——
My pal Tom, a very experienced sailor himself, just informed me of Jim Gray’s misfortune:

He was sailing offshore, alone, in good weather with a well-equipped yacht. He’s said to have “more than 10 years’ experience,” but reports from friends say he’s been sailing much longer than that.

My guess is man-overboard. He would have known about keeping a harness on at all times when offshore if he’s as experienced as has been said, but he was on a trip to scatter his mother’s ashes and his emotions may have clouded his judgement. Or he might not have been as experienced as his friends thought and he may not have been clipped in.

Honestly, when I was young and dumb I went out alone, but I wouldn’t want to go out offshore alone. Or would I? I’ve been from Salem to Marblehead and to Gloucester without anyone on board. He was going to the Farallon Islands, though, which is ~25 miles out. That’s pretty far out to be alone.

Other possibilities are:

Container collision: containers are a lethal hazard offshore. Containers overboard from a ship float awash for months and can kill a yacht in seconds if the yacht rams them at an angle that staves in the hull.

Ship collision: thought to be somewhat less likely b/c the weather was good and he was out for a day sail.

Catastrophic health issue: he is 63, but in good health.

Equipment failure: As you may recall, this can be a problem.

Stanford Student Vanishes. Car Found.


Very bad news on the Zhou case.   Her car has been found and there is a body in the trunk.  No ID yet on the body but it’s probably May Zhou.

More Car: Silver 4 door 2006 Corolla Lic# 5VFG430

Student classified as “At Risk”

Police are asking the public’s help in looking for Zhou and her car. Zhou is described as an Asian woman, 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds. She has brown eyes, black hair and a medium complexion. Her roommate recalled only that she’d been wearing blue jeans when she left the apartment Saturday morning.

Anyone with information about Zhou can call Stanford University police at (650) 723-9633, or after hours at (650) 329-2413.

Articles about this case