Fossett Searchers To Assess Mission 2 Weeks After Adventurer's Disappearance


Saturday, September 15th 2007, 6:32 pm
By: News On 6


MINDEN, Nev. (AP) _ Nearly two weeks after Steve Fossett disappeared in the Nevada desert, authorities plan to assess the rescue operation as hopes dim of finding the adventurer alive.

Crews searched by air and ground Saturday for Fossett, who was last seen on Labor Day. But organizers with the Civil Air Patrol, Nevada National Guard and state emergency management said authorities plan to meet Monday to decide how to proceed with the operation.

Until then, the mission continues, officials said.

``We're still in rescue mode,'' Maj. Ed Locke of the Nevada Air National Guard said during a press briefing Saturday.

The search has covered harsh terrain twice the size of New Jersey. Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan said there is still hope that Fossett will be found alive.

``If anyone can pull it off, he can,'' she said.

Fossett, 63, has sailed and flown around the world, setting numerous aviation and distance records. The search for him has included the Civil Air Patrol, Nevada National Guard, search and rescue ground crews and private pilots. Organizers estimate the effort has so far cost about $600,000.

At the urging of search coordinators, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction in the search area Friday after an amateur pilot flew through at a low altitude.

When contacted, the pilot said he wanted to find Fossett and claim a $10,000 reward advertised on YouChoose.net, Locke said.

``This freelance searching is not only dangerous, but will potentially result in the delay or cancellation of all air search missions for Mr. Fossett,'' search organizers said in a written statement.