Lead doesn't pan out

A lead that failed to pan out is just another in a series of false sightings in the search for famed aviator Steve Fossett.

The sighting by Civil Air Patrol flyers was due east of the south end of Walker Lake and within the 50-mile radius search that is the focus of today's search.

Lyon County Undersheriff Joe Sanford said authorities are waiting until they get confirmation on a wreck before they are telling family members of the sightings.

"There's no use putting them through that every time we spot something," he said.

Sanford described Fossett's family as somber but focused as the search continues.

While the search area remains the 17,000-square-mile region running between southern Lyon County and Bishop, Maj. Cynthia Ryan said that today searchers are focusing on the area within a 50-mile radius of the Flying M Ranch. She said experience has shown that someone is more likely to have gone down with the 50-mile radius, either as they were taking off or as they were limping back to land.

Searchers continue to probe the depths of Walker Lake, but public information officer Kim Toulouse said the search of much shallower Mono Lake took place from the air.

"Mono Lake is only 8-12-feet deep," he said. "We believe that anything in the lake would be visible from the air."

Sanford said he had received a half-dozen tips on where to look for Fossett in the few hours he was at the command center today.

He said that a request appeared on stevefossett.com asking people to help.

"We are not condoning or finding it helpful for people to go out looking," he said. "We could end up in a situation where we have to go look for the searchers."

Sanford said searchers are following up on any tips they receive.


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