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Aviator Steve Fossett Missing; Search Under Way

Adventurer millionaire Steve Fossett, who has traveled around the world breaking a number of flight records, is missing. Federal officials say his small plane vanished in western Nevada on Monday, and a search effort is under way.

Fossett made his millions working in securities in Chicago, but adventure is his love. He has climbed mountains, competed in the Iditarod dog sled race and made history flying around the world in airplanes and balloons.

On Monday, he took off in a small single-engine plane from a private airstrip about 70 miles southeast of Reno, Nev., and didn't return as scheduled.

Civil Air Patrol teams began searching for him after a friend reported him missing. Maj. Cynthia Ryan says 13 aircraft teams are conducting grid searches over hundreds of square miles.

In 1995, Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon. In 2002, he went even farther, becoming the first person to fly around the world in a balloon. He called it an enormous relief:

"I've put everything into this; all my efforts, all of my skills. I've taken the risk associated with this over this long period of time, and finally, after six flights, you know — I've succeeded. And it's a very satisfying experience," he said.

Two years ago, Fossett set another record: He became the first to fly a plane solo around the world without refueling. This summer, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.

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