September 4, 2008 — Searchers shared a moment of silence Wednesday for millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett who disappeared a year ago while flying in a friend’s single-engine plane above Nevada’s rugged mountains.
But then the group of 28 searchers got right back to work — looking for signs that would tell the fate of Fossett’s doomed September 3, 2007 flight.
The Associated Press reported that a 28-member team began the latest search on August 23 and plans to conclude it by September 10. Although the team has found little more than bullet-riddled metal scrap so far, they remain optimistic Fossett will be found.
"We're finding your typical broken glass, bottles, cans, car parts, fenders, coffee cans, anything they can put out there and aim at and shoot up," said Robert Hyman, who with fellow explorers Lew Toulmin and Bob Atwater are heading the search effort. Hyman, Toulmin, Atwater and a few other team members are, like Fossett, members of the New York City-based Explorers Club.
"We're pushing harder, leaving people in the field longer,” Hyman told the Associated Press. “We've got the lay of the land now."
The group is searching near Barron Hilton’s Flying M Ranch, where Fossett had been staying, looking in steep canyons and gulches in Nevada's Wassuk Range, dominated by Mount Grant.
They are focusing on a new area, west of the area previously scoured, based on new information that a radar track that was believed to show Fossett's route may instead have been the track of a local pilot who was flying over the area at the same day and time.
The latest hunt is the largest since last year's massive efforts. Earlier this summer, a team headed by Canadian geologist and adventure racer Simon Donato spent a week trekking through this remote area.
Mike Larson and Kelly Stephenson of Carson City, Nev. are conducting a smaller search. They have been riding ATVs and hiking on foot southwest of Hawthorne for several months on days off from work.
Fossett was declared legally dead in February by a Chicago judge.
Searchers still have found no sign of Steve Fossett or his plane.
Steve Fossett cruises just above Runway 36 at EAA AirVenture 2005 as he provides the audience a show pass of his quadruple-record-setting Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. Photo by Dave Higdon