Radar clues lead search for aviator Steve Fossett
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Teams on the ground and in two aircraft kept up the hunt for millionaire aviator Steve Fossett on Sunday after a new analysis of radar data provided fresh optimism.
The formal aerial search by the Civil Air Patrol and the Nevada National Guard had ended Sept. 19 after more than two weeks of scouring a rugged area of deserts and mountains twice the size of New Jersey.
However, analysis of radar data and satellite images from Sept. 3, the day Fossett disappeared in a small plane, led Air Force technicians to believe they had spotted clues to his route.
“We said the only time we would reopen the search is if we had viable leads. This time we believe we do,” Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said Sunday.
The approximately 65 square-mile search area was southeast of hotel magnate Barron Hilton’s million-acre ranch in western Nevada, where Fossett had been staying, and south of Walker Lake, Derks said.
Nothing had been found by mid-afternoon Sunday, he said.
Fossett, 63, was the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon. He also swam the English Channel, completed the Iditarod sled-dog race and scaled some of the world’s best-known peaks.