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Death Valley May Be On Lookout For Steve Fosset

Steve Fossett; Mary Frances Howard photographer.

Steve Fossett, missing since Sept 3rd, may have flown his airplane towards Death Valley National Park. The search team will look for him in the rugged terrain on the north boundary of the park.

Since September 3rd, we've been hearing about the search for the billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. He took off in a plane for a short flight from a remote ranch in Nevada, but didn't return. They have been searching for Steve from the air, by foot, and they've even been searching for him from the internet (using recently updated aerial photography). So far they haven't found Steve.

Today, however, the search team has a new sets of clues to follow, thanks to the Air Force. Using an analysis of satellite and radar images, the Air Force thinks they may have found Steve Fosset's track. They now think he may have been heading towards Death Valley. The area they'll examine is 100 miles away from where he took off, and includes very rough terrain. The search will focus in an area that would include Nevada's remote Silver Peak Range, close to Death Valley National Park in California.

"There's nothing definite, nothing concrete," search coordinator Gary Derks told the papers. "These are just some hits that we want to track." Because the area is so rough, says Derks, "he's going to be hard to see. That's why we're sending in the ground search-and-rescue crews, too."


No word yet from the Park Service as to whether the new GPS Electronic Rangers will be up for the challenge of a Search and Rescue mission. The park may employ some iPods as back up.

I doubt the GPS Rangers will assist in the search, but they would be able to provide information to visitors while traditional rangers are out looking for Fossett.

Besides, interp rangers aren't very good at SAR!

And SAR folks aren't very good at interp... although there are a few out there that can do it all -- my heroes.

I hope the Fossett estate is planning on stepping up to the plate when remuneration time rolls around. Or is it only the average Joe who has to pay the search and rescue bill these days? Seems like the government can balance the budget on this one, or at the very least clear up that multi-million dollar NPS maintenance backlog, what with all the Air Force fighter pilots, NPS ground trackers (and trekkers) and satellite network involved. Boy, I'd sure hate to be in his shoes should he turn up alive somewhere. Sounds like Lucy would have plenty 'splainin to do.........

This unique national park is open all year, but winter is the best time to visit the points of interest in the valley. The long, hot summer - from May through October - is only for the hardy and venturesome. Many of the side roads from the valley are closed during this season, but you will find the higher and cooler Panamint Mountains quite comfortable.

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