Searchers return to Sunrise Pass today

Douglas County rescuers will continue to search Sunrise Pass for signs of famed aviator Steve Fossett today.

Sheriff's Search & Rescue team was called out at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday after a tip received earlier was confirmed. Lyon County spokesman Jeff Page said the initial tip that an airplane flew into an area canyon and didn't fly out was overheard in a bar. Confirmation of the tip came a few hours ago.

Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said four search and rescue teams consisting of seven searchers and two coordinators examined the area around Sunrise Pass.

"The terrain is extremely difficult," he said. "They could not access some of the areas."

Mezzetta said the team did find a large pile of yellow metal someone dumped in the area before they returned to Minden at 9 p.m.

Douglas County searchers returned to the area in a six-wheeled Polaris all-terrain vehicle that was donated to the sheriff's office last year.

"They'll try to get into the areas they couldn't last night," he said.

A second tip, came from a camper near Sonora Pass south of Coleville, who said she heard a plane fly over and then the sound of a crash.

Page said California law enforcement officers were talking to the woman to get a better location. Meanwhile winds over Sonora Pass are preventing light aircraft from taking a better look.

Fossett has been missing since Labor Day morning when he took off in a borrowed Citabria Super Decathlon from the Flying M Ranch south of Wellington. Dozens of tips a day are being followed. The Sunrise Pass area of the Pine Nut Mountains between Douglas and Lyon counties is a common spot for searches, said Page. Off-roaders and hikers are typically the target for those searches.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment