Fossett Search Scaled Back


After two weeks of searching and no sign of Steve Fossett or his airplane, the rescue effort will be scaled back, officials said on Monday. Fossett took off on Sept. 3 from a private airfield in Nevada for what was supposed to be a three-hour flight, but he never returned. The Civil Air Patrol has searched 98 percent of the 20,000 square mile region where Fossett was last seen, according to spokeswoman Maj. Cynthia Ryan. She said two CAP aircraft will remain on standby at Minden-Tahoe Airport in support of ground searchers. Any new tips that are received will be followed up with ground and aerial searches, officials said. The Nevada National Guard will continue to deploy helicopters as needed, and a fleet of privately funded aircraft based at the Flying M Ranch will continue to methodically cover a search grid, flying as low as possible. Eight helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft are flying 24 hours a day, some of them equipped with infrared and other spectrum-analysis assets. Tips based on Google Earth searches have been checked and continue to arrive, but many are repeats of earlier sightings, according to the Nevada Appeal.