Sunday, July 27, 2008

Did Steve Fossett Fake His Own Death?

Fossett, a friend of Virgin boss Richard Branson, and the first man to fly non-stop round the earth in a hot air balloon, went missing last September when his final flight in a light plane over the Nevada desert went missing.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Ryan of the US Civil Air Patrol has said Fossett, whose body or plane was never found, could still be alive.

She said: "I've been doing this search and rescue for 14 years. Fossett should have been found.

"It's not like we didn't have our eyes open. We found six other planes while we were looking for him. We're pretty good at what we do."

Fossett also apparently claimed he was going to scout for locations for a land speed record attempt, but he supposedly took off with no emergency equipment.

The choice of plane was also a baffling one - a Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon, which, according to risk assessor Robert Davis said was constructed from a steel and wood frame, but actually covered in fabric, making it easy to dismantle.

Davis conducted an eight-month investigation for insurers Lloyd's of London, said to face a £25 million payout on Fossett's death.

He said: "What I've strived to find out is what happened to this man in the run-up to his disappearance, why did he disappear?

"I spoke to reporters who were on the scene, people who were helping out with the search efforts, anyone whom I thought could shed some light on this.

"I discovered that there is absolutely no proof that Steve Fossett is actually dead. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm a man who deals in facts, and I don't really care if he is alive or dead, it make no difference to me.

Ok, so perhaps we can discount the views of Davis, who is an insurance investigator trying to save Lloyd's from paying out a 25-million dollar claim; but what about the Civil Air Patrol representative? It's interesting that she talks of other aircraft found during the hunt for Fossett; did those planes all go down after his, or were some from crashes that happened years before? You read occasionally in the news of a plane crash discovered years or even decades later, so that should give an indication of how large the backcountry is and how small the planes that fly in it.

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