Branson: Unlikely That Fossett Is Still Alive

 - October 16, 2007, 12:23 PM

Will Steve Fossett suffer a fate similar to Amelia Earhart’s? That’s the question on many people’s minds as winter starts to take hold in the Nevada mountains, where it’s believed that the American Champion Super Decathlon he was flying crashed. Efforts to find the adventurer/aviator/millionaire have now come to a near halt, and chances are deemed slim to none that he survived the September 3 crash in the rugged desert of northern Nevada. Despite an intense search-and-rescue effort, no trace of him has yet been found, and the Civil Air Patrol has suspended its search while more modest private efforts by Fossett’s friends and family continue. “I think the chances are that he’s no longer with us,” friend and British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson said yesterday. “I think everybody involved has pretty well given up hope, sadly.” However, Fossett’s disappearance still remains under investigation as a missing-person case, since authorities aren’t yet prepared to presume him dead.