Expand Search Area To Over 10K Square Miles
They haven't given up
hope. Search crews scouring the rugged northwestern Nevada desert
for any sign of adventurer Steve Fossett intensified their efforts
Thursday, significantly expanding the search area and deploying
additional resources to cover as much ground -- and water -- as
Civil Air Patrol Major Cynthia Ryan told reporters aircraft are
now scouring a much larger section of mountainous terrain for any
sign of Fossett's small, single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon
(shown at bottom.)
"The search area has expanded with the accumulated passes and
that kind of thing, to an area in excess of 10,000 square miles,"
Ryan told Agence-France Presse. "As you can imagine, trying to make
that needle stand out in a haystack that big is going to be a real
There has been no emergency signal detected in the area since
Fossett disappeared Monday morning. Not only was his plane equipped
with an emergency locator transmitter, but the record-setting
aviator also reportedly wore a specially-made Breitling personal
locator wristwatch. Crews haven't detected any emergency signals
Seven aircraft took off just after daybreak Thursday to resume
the search. They joined a C-130 outfitted with heat-seeking sensors
that flew overnight, looking for clues on Fossett's whereabouts.
Several additional fixed-and-rotary-wing aircraft joined the search
as the day went on.
"Searches of this nature -- typically, they can go on for as
long as two weeks and longer," Ryan said. "Four days into it, we
are still scratching the surface."
Police also planned to deploy a search-and-rescue boat equipped
with sonar devices on a lake near the Hilton Flying M Ranch, where
Fossett took off from Monday morning, as ANN reported.
"The new information is that they're going to put a boat onto
the lake with sonar equipment that can detect large and fixed
objects beneath the surface of the water," Nevada State police
spokesman Chuck Allen told AFP. Allen added crews would search the
lake "if only to rule it out" as a place where Fossett may have
Additional personnel took to horseback, to explore canyons
planes are unable to properly search from the air.
While rescuers had no information to suggest that Fossett's
light plane had crashed into Walker Lake, in Mineral County, Allen
said officials wanted to take to the water "if only to rule it
"We've got all kinds of people helping us, folks on horses who
can get out to places that are hard to reach, people in 4x4
vehicles, who want to help," Allen said.
CAP spokeswoman Ryan stressed despite the discouraging lack of
new information, four days into the search, crews remained upbeat.
She noted a similar case involving a pilot who was found three days
after his plane crashed, hanging upside-down from his harness,
"Barring some sort of catastrophic landing, this is entirely
survivable. You have a man out there who has all the skills
necessary," she said.
That sentiment was echoed by Allen.
"We're all remaining very positive and very hopeful. Each new
day we all feel today's the day we're going to find him. That's the
attitude we're sharing as a group," he said.
(Aero-News thanks Doug Robertson, Jr, for
his permission to republish the copyrighted photo of N240R, above.
Photo is from www.airport-data.com