The History

On September 3, 2007, Steve Fossett, the multi-millionaire record-breaking aviator, went missing when his single engine plane disappeared in Nevada. A month later, the official search was called off. As summer approaches in 2008, a team led by Dr. Simon Donato will tackle the Sierra Nevada Mountains to find the wreckage and put closure to this mystery.

Steve Fossett’s unexplained disappearance resulted in the largest and most expensive search and rescue operation in United States history. Military and civilian participants searched the vast and rugged Nevada wilderness, but despite eye-witness accounts and sophisticated satellite and radar imagery, no trace of Steve Fossett or his airplane were ever located. Although a privately funded search continued through October, all searching was stopped by November. In December, his wife petitioned an Illinois court to declare him legally dead in order to begin executing his will, and on February 15, 2008, a Chicago court complied.

Steve Fossett was a world famous and successful adventurer, explorer, and businessman. He held numerous aviation records, including the first non-stop, solo, round-the-world flights by balloon and aircraft. His disappearance generated major media attention and has quickly become one of aviation’s greatest mysteries, much like the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

Details of his disappearance, and ultimately his obituary were carried by major networks, newspapers, and magazines throughout North America and Europe. Experts believe that Steve Fossett crashed in a remote and rugged area on the margin of the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains and that if his wreckage is found, it would most likely by a hiker or a hunter. This area is so remote, rugged and unpopulated, that it may take years before the wreckage is stumbled upon. Barring any new leads, there are no plans for the State of Nevada to resume searching this spring, although small, privately funded searches are probable. Based on extensive research, study of search and rescue maps, and interviews, Simon has selected a search area of approximately 100 km2 in western Nevada.


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