High winds ground Steve Fossett searchers | NevadaAppeal.com

High winds ground Steve Fossett searchers

Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

MINDEN – High winds grounded the Civil Air Patrol’s search for Steve Fossett on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Maj. Cynthia Ryan said that the air search was suspended for the volunteer organization for safety reasons. Winds of up to 50 mph were expected over the Sierra Nevada ridgetops.

She said the search for the famed aviator should resume this morning.

Meanwhile, the Nevada National Guard and private aircraft continued to look for Fossett who failed to return to the Flying M Ranch on Labor Day.

National Guard Maj. Ed Locke said the guard’s C-130 flew over Sonora Pass looking for Fossett on Wednesday.

Alpine County sheriff’s deputies contacted a witness who was camping on Labor Day and said she saw an airplane fly over the area south of Coleville and then heard a crash.

Search and rescue personnel from Alpine County were looking for any sign of Fossett’s plane on Thursday. Locke said it would take four or five days to complete the search.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue teams also followed up a tip that Fossett’s plane was seen flying in the Sunrise Pass area.

The team called out at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday returned at 9 p.m. after finding a large pile of yellow metal someone dumped in the area.

Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said Douglas County searchers returned to the area Thursday in a six-wheeled Polaris all-terrain vehicle that was donated to the sheriff’s office last year. They were expected to complete their search Thursday.

“They’ll try to get into the areas they couldn’t (Wednesday) night,” he said.

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.

Lyon County Undersheriff Joe Sanford read a statement from Peggy Fossett saying that while Fossett owns a wristwatch with an emergency locator transmitter in it, he wasn’t wearing it on Labor Day.

Trooper Chuck Allen said searchers are continuing to follow up on leads received by people looking for Fossett through the Internet. The tip line is at (910) 396-0704, enter 4719.