Fossett search expands to 17,000 square miles

The search for Steve Fossett has been expanded once more, this time to 17,000 miles.

At a 10 a.m. briefing, reporters were told that about half of that area had been searched as flyers continue to look for the Citabria Super Decathalon Fossett flew from the Flying M Ranch on Labor Day morning.

Lyon County Undersheriff Joe Sanford said Peggy Fossett has asked that reporters respect the family's privacy. He said she is the only family member at the Flying M Ranch, accompanied by Fossett's pilot.

Sanford clarified the timeline on Labor Day, when Fossett hadn't returned from his flight, which started at about 9 a.m.

He said Lyon County received the initial call at 1:43 p.m. and that deputies searched dry lakebeds in southern Lyon County.

Sanford said ground searchers continue to look for Fossett.

Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Department of Public Safety said a boat is on Walker Lake looking for Fossett using sonar.

Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan said that today searchers would be pooling their resources. This morning 14 patrol aircraft took off in search of Fossett in an area including parts of eastern California and western Nevada.

She said weather conditions are excellent for the search and that they are still hopeful Fossett will be found alive.

In addition to the Civil Air Patrol, a Nevada National Guard C-130 and three helicopters, and private aircraft from Silver State Helicopters.

Ryan said there are private searchers who are coordinating with the Civil Air Patrol.

"There are no cowboys allowed," she said.

However, a group of private searchers not involved in the hunt are those at the Flying M Ranch, who have agreed to a flight restriction for the morning. She said the restriction would be lifted this afternoon.


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