Search for Fossett continues on basis of radar analyses of aviator's flight

Monday, October 1, 2007

LAS VEGAS -- Teams on the ground and in two aircraft kept up the hunt for millionaire aviator Steve Fossett on Sunday after a new analysis of radar data provided fresh optimism.

The formal aerial search by the Civil Air Patrol and the Nevada National Guard had ended Sept. 19 after more than two weeks of scouring a rugged area of deserts and mountains twice the size of New Jersey.

However, analysis of radar data and satellite images from Sept. 3, the day Fossett disappeared in a small plane, led Air Force technicians to believe they had spotted clues to his route.

"We said the only time we would reopen the search is if we had viable leads. This time we believe we do," Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said Sunday.

The area being searched was southeast of hotel magnate Barron Hilton's million-acre ranch in western Nevada, where Fossett had been staying. Nothing was found by Sunday afternoon.

Fossett, 63, has not been seen since he left to scout locations to break the land speed record.

The adventurer is the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon. He also has swum the English Channel, completed the Iditarod sled-dog race and scaled some of the world's best-known peaks

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