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Sun, Feb 17, 2008

Official: Pilot/Adventurer Steve Fossett Declared Dead

And so it ends... after weeks and months of heart-felt searching that employed the best efforts of thousands of people (on-site and online), a Cook County Circuit Court has declared missing pilot, Steve Fossett, dead.

Peggy Fossett, Fossett's wife, pursued the declaration in order to resolve the legal status of his estate. The decision was made by Judge Jeffrey Malak, Friday, and involved testimony from Peggy Fossett, a family friend and a SAR Consultant before rendering the declaration of death.

The decision ends the five month uncertainty that remained after Fossett left Nevada on a routine GA flight in a friend's Decathlon while searching for locations for his next record attempt, a world land-speed record. Fossett, 63, became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon, in 2002 and was last seen Sept. 3, heading for locations near Bishop, CA. In March of 2005, Fossett set unprecedented new records as the first pilot to fly an aircraft solo around the world. The flight was made without refueling and covered 23,000 miles in 67 hours -- it was but one more in a lifetime of successful record attempts.Fossett friend and fellow adventurer, Sir Richard Branson, noted that "Steve's lived his life to the full, and he hasn't wasted a minute of his life... Everything he's done, he's taken a calculated risk with."

The extensive search for Fossett, rumored to be one of the most intensive in US history, covered 20,000 square miles. The area searched was known to be a tough one and some 15-20 aircraft were reported to have gone down in the same general area without recovery.

Fossett, thankfully, lived long enough to see himself inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in July.

FMI: www.stevefossett.com

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