Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Intensive Search Underway

A search was under way in the mountainous terrain of western Nevada on Tuesday for James Stephen “Steve” Fossett, the aviator millionaire, who disappeared Monday after taking off from a ranch for a brief recreational flight in a single-engine plane.

Nine aircraft have been searching several hundred square miles for signs of Mr. Fossett or the blue-and-white single-engine Citabria Super Decathlon he was last seen flying south in, Major Ryan said. Mr. Fossett took off heading south from the Flying M Ranch, which is about 90 miles southeast of Reno.

Six of the search planes were the Civil Air Patrol’s Cessna 182 planes, each with three-person crews, and in addition helicopters from the Nevada National Guard, California Highway Patrol and Naval Air Station Fallon in Fallon, Nev.

“We’re committing federal resources to this mission,” Major Ryan said. “We’d do this for anyone.”

Major Ryan said that the weather was clear and wind was light on Monday when Mr. Fossett took off, and the plane he was in was used the day before by other Hilton Ranch guests. She said technicians at the ranch said it was in “excellent technical condition.”

Major Ryan also noted that Mr. Fossett did not take along a satellite phone or other radio equipment “he would normally take because he only intended to be gone a short while.”

No comments: