Wife of missing aviator thanks volunteers | SierraSun.com

Wife of missing aviator thanks volunteers

Associated PressSteve Fossett

One week after millionaire aviator Steve Fossett disappeared, his wife, Peggy, issued a statement that she remained hopeful and “confident of a successful resolution to this search.”

The statement was read by Klamath County, Ore., Sheriff Tim Evinger at a Monday morning news conference at Minden-Tahoe Airport, the command post for the search for Fossett who failed to return Sept. 3 from a flight that originated from hotel magnate Barron Hilton’s ranch near Wellington.

Peggy Fossett has been staying at the ranch while searchers comb a 17,000-square-mile area of desolate western Nevada looking for her 63-year-old husband.

“The search for Steve Fossett is intense, thorough, and highly professional,” Peggy Fossett said in her statement. “I am certain that, under no other circumstances, would it be possible to assemble a better, more experienced and organized team, both on and off site.”

She called the collaboration between military, law enforcement and civilian entities “incredible” and thanked the “hundreds of friends and volunteers who are looking for and the millions around the world who are praying for Steve’s safe return.”

“More than anything else, Steve Fossett believes in achieving success through calculated, meticulous planning and organization and it is that spirit which permeates this team,” she said. “Our hopes are high and I am confident of a successful resolution to this search.”

Peggy Fossett thanked Hilton and his staff at the Flying M Ranch, Gov. Jim Gibbons and the Civil Air Patrol of Nevada and California for their round-the-clock search.

She thanked Evinger and his dive team who provided support for the underwater search of Walker Lake.

Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Chuck Allen said at the news conference that 11 fixed wing aircraft from Nevada and eight from Bishop, Calif., were assisting in the search.

A C130 plane and two Black Hawk helicopters also remained available.

Lyon County Undersheriff Joe Sanford said a team from Douglas County Search and Rescue was investigating a site Monday in southern Lyon County.

“The 50-mile radius from the Flying M Ranch is still the focus,” Sanford said. “We’re going to stick with this until we find Mr. Fossett. As long as there’s hope, as long as there are assets, we will continue. We will not rest until we bring this to what we feel is a successful conclusion.”

Allen said a total of seven crash sites had been discovered since the search began a week ago.

“We look at that as a positive sign,” Sanford said. “These aircraft went down well before we had the technology of September, 2007.”

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