EAGLE, Colo. (AP) _ A search team looking for a bomb from the suicide crash of an A-10 Air Force warplane two years ago found an old unexploded mortar shell Wednesday, but no sign of the 500-pound bombs they were seeking.

Eagle County Sheriff's Deputy John O'Sullivan said searchers found ``some old military ordinance, including what appeared to be an intact mortar shell.''

The search team was formed to investigate the sighting of a hike who had found an object with a protruding tailfin wedged between rocks about eight miles south of where Capt. Craig Button's plane hit the mountain.

Button's attack jet was carrying four 500-pound bombs from a base in Tucson, Ariz., when he broke formation with two other planes on April 2, 1997.

For three hours, Button flew an erratic 500-mile course that ended when he crashed into the 13,000-foot Gold Dust Peak.

Air Force investigators concluded he committed suicide. The wreckage was found after an 18-day search, but there was no trace of the bombs, despite a 72-day search.

The search team, including the hiker, an Air Force officer, a civilian engineer and a forest ranger, arrived near the site in a four-wheeled drive vehicle and hiked to the remote spot, returning before nightfall.

The unidentified hiker discovered the object in the fall, but snow and the threat of avalanches prevented officials from heading to the site near Whitney Mountain until this week.

The military closed the area until the bomb can be disarmed.

O'Sullivan said it is believed the ordinance was left from training in World War II. The region was declared a wilderness area in 1980 and there has been no military training there since then.