Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Desert Search Fails to Find Any Sign of Fossett; Rescue Hopes: Steve Fossett with Friend Sir Richard Branson Riddle: Steve Fossett, Left, Vanished While Scouting for Locations for a Possible Land-Speed Record Bid in the Nevada Desert. Inset above, a Citabria Super Decathlon Plane like the One Fossett Was Flying

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Desert Search Fails to Find Any Sign of Fossett; Rescue Hopes: Steve Fossett with Friend Sir Richard Branson Riddle: Steve Fossett, Left, Vanished While Scouting for Locations for a Possible Land-Speed Record Bid in the Nevada Desert. Inset above, a Citabria Super Decathlon Plane like the One Fossett Was Flying

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID GARDNER, AMAR SINGH

THE wife of adventurer Steve Fossett was enduring an agonising waittoday as rescuers were forced temporarily to call off the search for him.

The Civil Air Patrol, who are heading the operation to find the 63-year-oldmillionaire in the rugged terrain of Nevada, admitted that it was like locatinga "very small needle in a very large haystack".

Today friends described Mr Fossett's wife Peggy as "panicky" over the fate ofher husband, who went missing after taking off in a single-engine plane onMonday to scout locations for a land-speed record attempt.

All of the 14 aircraft looking for Mr Fossettincluding a Blackhawk helicopter with night-vision equipment which flew lastnight after sunset have reported back with no sign of his whereabouts.

Major Cynthia Ryan, of the Civil Air Patrol, admitted they had no clue as tothe location of the adventurer's Citabra Super Decathlon, despite the teamsconducting grid searches over 7,500 square miles of Nevada.

She said the experienced pilot had "full radio capacity" but had not madecontact with anyone since take-off. "It is a very large haystack, and anairplane is a very small needle, no doubt about it," Major Ryan said.

The search area's terrain ranges from high deserts with dry lake beds andsagebrush to rugged mountain peaks. The landscape, combined with gusty winds,complicated yesterday's operation.

Rescuers said Mr Fossett did not file a flight plan for his mission, which wasonly supposed to last three hours.

Police spokesman Chuck Allen admitted: "They don't exactly know where he wasgoing." Mr Fossett was due to return to the private airstrip at a ranch ownedby a friend, hotel magnate Barry Hilton, about 70 miles from Reno, Nevada.

Instead, he lost radio contact and the plane's electronic locator transmitterfell silent. …

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