Billionaire Adventurer Disappeared On Labor Day 2007
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the mysterious
disappearance of famed aviator and adventurer Steve Fossett... and
though official search efforts for the billionaire have ended,
friends and admirers continue to scour the desolate Nevada
landscape for some sign of what happened.
A privately-funded, 10-member search party was launched in July,
led by Canadian geologist Simon Donato. That
team failed to come up with any leads, but that hasn't dissuaded
others from trying.
The Associated Press reports a new search began August 23, with
a 28-member team headed up by Robert Hyman, Lew Toulmin and Bob
Atwater. All three belong to the New York-based Explorers Club,
which also counted Fossett as a member.
The team is concentrating their efforts close to Barron Hilton's
Flying M Ranch, where Fossett departed on his last flight on Labor
as ANN reported. A massive aerial and ground
search, conducted the days following Fossett's disappearance,
failed to turn up any sign of what happened.
But were those crews looking in the right area? New information
suggests the flight path believed to have been Fossett's may have
actually been another pilot, who said he flew over the area around
Mount Grant on the day Fossett disappeared.
Like Donato, Hyman's team thinks Fossett may have actually
stayed closer to the Flying M Ranch than previously thought, so
they're focusing on a smaller area to the west of the airfield,
combing the steep canyons and gulches of the Wassuk mountain
A smaller search is being conducted by Mike Larson and Kelly
Stephenson of Carson City, NV, who have searched an area southwest
of Hawthorne, NV for several months, on their days off from
To date, none of the searches have turned up anything new. Crews
on Hyman's team were buoyed with the discovery of a scrap of blue
cloth... but it appears to be too thin to have come from the
fabric-covered Bellanca Decathlon (shown below) that Fossett
borrowed from hotel magnate Barron Hilton for his last flight.
"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 Hyman. "[But] we're pushing harder,
leaving people in the field longer. We've got the lay of the land
The current search is scheduled to end September 10... but
Toulmin hopes they find the answer's they're seeking before then.
"We hope that Wednesday's the day," he said. "That would be
Fossett was legally declared dead in February. The adventurer's
widow, Peggy, has issued a statement saying she supports the
private efforts to locate her husband.
(Copyrighted photo of N240R used with permission of
photographer Doug Robertson Jr. Photo from www.airport-data.com